WEEK OF OCTOBER 29 THROUGH NOVEMBER 4
Europe Over Sanctions
UN Confirms Hizbullah
Without Invites for Annapolis
Abbas’s Fatah Threatens to fire Hundreds of Rockets at Israel
Nov. 1….(Jerusalem Post) The Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a wing of MahmoudD Abbas Fatah organization threatened Thursday morning to fire hundreds of rockets at Israel. Sderot and western Negev residents on their way to work were greeted by nine Kassams landing in and around the city. Four landed in populated areas. One landed in the garden of a building, one at a junction in the city and one at an educational institution just outside Sderot, Army Radio reported. There were no casualties reported as a result of the barrage. In response, the IAF attacked Kassam rocket cells in northern Gaza from the air. The IDF said they destroyed two Kassams in their launchers which were about to be fired. The group announced that they have commenced "Operation Gaza Autumn," which would include, among other things, firing rockets at Israel. In Sderot, the Home Front Command placed eight concrete bunkers around the city Thursday morning. It was not clear if the move was connected to the barrage fired in the morning. Another 43 will be placed around the city by the end of the month, Israel Radio reported. Meanwhile, the IDF killed four terrorists early Thursday morning in several encounters along the Gaza security fence, Army Radio reported. Guns and ammunition were discovered on their bodies. It remains to be seen whether Israel will cut the electricity to parts of Gaza in response to the barrage. Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently approved the measure in response to Kassam attacks, but Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz has held up the process until humanitarian measures to ensure the continuance of necessary systems are worked out.
Hamas Setting Stage for West Bank Seizure
Nov. 1….(WND) Hamas is setting the stage for a takeover of the West Bank similar to the coup in which the terror group seized control of the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli and Palestinian security officials. Hamas leaders confirmed to WND they are planning a West Bank takeover. "Fatah will fall in a matter of weeks at most, and the Islamic resistance (Hamas) will reign in the West Bank just as we do in Gaza," said Abu Abdullah, considered one of the most important operational members of Hamas' so-called resistance department. The West Bank borders Jerusalem and is within rocket range of Tel Aviv and Israel's international airport. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, slated to arrive here next week for her second visit this month, has been serving as mediator for an upcoming US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian summit later this month. At the meeting, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is widely expected to outline a Palestinian state in most of the West Bank, ultimately handing the strategic territory to security forces associated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah militias. But Israeli security officials are warning Abbas' forces are not strong enough to contend with controlling the West Bank without the aid of the Israel Defense Forces. Yuval Diskin, head of Israel's Shin Bet Security Services, estimated during a Knesset meeting earlier his week that if control of the West Bank were handed over to Abbas, Israel would suffer a "significant threat to its security." Palestinian security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, admitted to WND they cannot control the West Bank without Israeli intervention. According to the officials, Fatah's intelligence apparatus routinely hands the IDF lists of Hamas militants that threaten Fatah rule, requesting that Israel make arrests. Israeli and Palestinian security officials told WND they have specific information Hamas is quietly setting the stages for an imminent West Bank takeover attempt. The officials said that among other things, Hamas has been acquiring weaponry in the West Bank and has set up a sophisticated system of communication between cells for a seizure attempt. In what is considered the most threatening Hamas move, according to the officials, the terror group is thought to have heavily infiltrated all major Fatah forces in the West Bank and has been attempting to buy off Fatah militia members, many times successfully. According to Palestinian sources, Hamas has, among other things, recruited important members of Fatah's declared military wing, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. The terror group particularly has targeted those who were against a deal this past summer in which Olmert extended amnesty to Brigades members as a gesture to Abbas. The Brigades, along with the Islamic Jihad terror group, has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel the past three years along with thousands of shootings and rocket firings against Jewish civilian population centers. The issue of Hamas infiltration of Fatah was thought to have been the Achilles heel that led to the terror group's takeover last summer of the entire Gaza Strip, including dozens of major, US-backed Fatah security compounds there. Hamas' seizure is thought to be a partial consequence of Israel evacuating Gaza in 2005. Hamas' infiltration of Fatah was so extensive, according to top Palestinian intelligence sources speaking to WND, it included the chiefs of several prominent Fatah security forces, including Yussef Issa, director of the Preventative Security Services, the main Fatah police force. Issa regularly coordinated security with the US and Israel/ Muhammad Abdel-El, spokesman for the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees terror group, told WND his group and Hamas have infiltrated "very deep" in Fatah. "We already are planning to obtain American weapons and take over the West Bank like we did in Gaza with help from the Palestinian resistance, including elements in Fatah, the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the Fatah Security Services. The Committees and Hamas has infiltrated very deep in Fatah," Abdel-El said. Top Hamas leaders vowed to stage soon a coup in the West Bank. Earlier this week, Nizar Rayyan, a senior Hamas leader, stated Hamas will soon control Abbas' office in the West Bank. "In the autumn, Hamas supporters will be praying in the Muqata compound in Ramallah (the site of Abbas' presidential office)," he said. "We are now praying at the presidential compound in Gaza, just as we said we would. Abbas' regime will fall like a leaf come autumn."
Terrorists Fear Olmert will Die Before he can Surrender
Oct. 31….(Israel Today) Palestinian terrorists have reacted to Monday's announcement that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has prostate cancer with great fear and trepidation. Their concern is that Olmert could die before he follows through with plans to surrender Israel's biblical heartland for the creation of yet another Arab Muslim state. WorldNetDaily reported that its Jerusalem bureau was inundated with calls from terrorist commanders belonging to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement after Israeli media dramatically announced that Olmert would hold a press conference divulging a serious physical illness. The terrorists had hoped the well-connected American news agency would have more details regarding just how serious Olmert's condition was. In an address that certainly allayed the terrorists fears, Olmert announced that cancerous tumor found in his prostate was very small and that doctors were confident they would successfully remove it and sign a clean bill of health for the prime minister. Olmert insisted that cancer would in no way prevent him from carrying through with his diplomatic plans vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Olmert recently suggested that those plans include the division of Jerusalem.
Israel Abandoning 'Preemptive Strike Doctrine'
Oct. 31….(Israel Today) Top former Israeli military commanders said last week that Israel is abandoning its "preemptive strike doctrine" in favor of a policy that would see the Jewish state hide from its enemies behind a sophisticated missile shield. Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem on joint US-Israeli missile defense strategies, the retired commanders said that in a world steeped in "political correctness" Israel no longer has the option of launching devastating preemptive strikes on enemies like Iran, Syria or even Gaza-based Hamas forces. "As a democracy and Western-oriented country, we have no option of launching harsh strikes on the enemy in which civilians are harmed," former Israel Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Herzle Bodinger was quoted by World Tribune as telling the October 22 gathering. Another former air force chief, David Ivry, noted that preemptive military action remains the correct approach, but lamented the fact that modern political considerations make it "virtually unfeasible." An unnamed official told World Tribune that much of Israel's perceived inability to act decisively against its enemies as in the past is linked to the belief of today's leadership that Israel cannot act without approval from Washington.
UAE Demands Israel be Brought Under IAEA Inspection
Oct. 31….(World News) The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has demanded Israel open its nuclear facilities to inspection by the UN nuclear watchdog and dismantle its weapons program. The security situation in the Middle East continues to pose a major threat to international peace and stability due to Israel's insistence on keeping its nuclear weapons and their delivery systems, Ahmed Abdulla Ali Al Ketbi, member of the UAE delegation, has told a UN General Assembly panel, WAM news agency reported Tuesday. Ketbi decried as double standard the exemption to Israel, which has not signed the NPT, from inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and said this has led to a dangerous security imbalance in the region. 'This (the exemption) has contributed in one way or another to the irresponsible development of Israel's nuclear weapons, and encouragement of some other states, in the context of their concept of security deterrence, to acquire dangerous nuclear weapons,' Ketbi said. 'In spite of the confidence-building measures taken by Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, particularly in the area of disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, the security situation in the Middle East continues to pose a major threat to international peace, security and stability,' he observed. The international community must exert effective pressures, including economic pressures, on Tel Aviv to get it to sign the NPT.
leaders ponder WWIII
If the US and Russia continue a course of mutual belligerency - albeit gloved - the road to Armageddon will be short. The West must understand that Russia newly flushed with energy wealth is no longer an underdog but a major world player. Russia, in its turn, must quit sending its bombers to tease Western countries. The US should come to terms with the fact it's no longer the only policeman on the block. The age of the sole superpower has to make way for a multipolar world. Only when big powers learn to treat one another with respect can the rest of us continue sleeping soundly at night.
Terrorists Plotted Setting US Fires
(Muslim bulletin boards advocated arson before California blazes)
Oct. 30….(WND) While websites frequented by jihadis have been ablaze with claims of responsibility for setting the California wildfires, terror leaders also urged arson attacks as a tactic last summer, according to a new report by Joseph Farah. In July, a post was made to numerous jihadist boards and then spread to a number of blogs citing a previously issued fatwa authorizing the setting of forest fires as a weapon of jihad. The post began "this is an invitation to the Muslims of Europe and America, Australia and Russia to burn forests." It went on to state the justification under Islamic Sharia law for this action and to cite its benefits for jihadists. The post, revealed in G2 Bulletin's report, cites an undated video that shows Abu Mus'ab al Suri, author of "Call to Global Islamic Resistance" and advocate of the doctrine of individual terrorism, discussing the benefits to the jihad of setting forest fires. Last year, the report points out, Maj. Robert Arthur Baird of the US Marine Corps wrote in the May 2006 issue of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism: "The United States is at significant risk of a future pyro-terrorist attack, when terrorists unleash the latent energy in the nation's forests to achieve the effect of a weapon of mass destruction to the United States." In his master's thesis, Major Baird also discusses arson as a terror tactic and sees it as a very real risk: "Instead of using expensive, complex and readily detectable nuclear or radiological bombs, a terrorist could easily ignite several massive wildfires to severely damage regional economies, impact military and firefighting forces and terrorize the American people." He goes on to state that a terrorist has the potential to "unleash multiple fires creating a conflagration potentially equal to a multi-megaton nuclear weapon." Is that what has happened this year? California authorities have confirmed some of the wildfires were set deliberately, and a terror watch organization says the circumstances match terror plans the FBI alerted law enforcement to several years ago. "In 2003 an FBI memo alerted law enforcement agencies that an al-Qaida terrorist being held in detention had talked of masterminding a plot to set a series of devastating forest fires around the western United States," the National Terror Alert Response Center warned. "It was reported that the detainee, who was not identified, said the plan involved three or four people setting wildfires using timed devices in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming that would detonate in forests and grasslands after the operatives had left the country," the advisory continued. "The detainee believed that significant damage to the US economy would result and once it was realized that the fires were terrorist acts, US citizens would put pressure on the US government to change its policies." WND reported in 2004 that an Arabic-language jihadi website also posted a message purporting to be "al-Qaida's plan of economic attack" on the US that including proposals to turn the nation's forests into raging infernos. The National Terror Alert Response Center report said, "We are NOT implying that the California fires are an act of terrorism; however, the threat of pyro-terrorist attacks pose a significant risk to the US and the fires in California and Greece earlier this year should be a wake-up call." Less than two months ago, between four and five dozen people were killed and scores more hospitalized with serious injuries as a result of wildfires in portions of Greece. Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis expressed his suspicions. "So many fires sparked simultaneously in so many places is no coincidence," he said when the blazes erupted. And Terror Watch notes a top prosecutor in Greece now has begun investigating whether the arsons were, in fact, terrorism. Dimitris Papangelopoulos said the investigation will determine "whether the crimes of arsonists and of arson attacks on forests" should be prosecuted under the nation's anti-terrorism law. Arab terrorists in Israel have started dozens of major forest fires over the years. As far back as 1988, Israeli police caught more than a dozen Palestinian adults in the act of setting fires, while other Arabs confessed to arson after arrest. Some fires followed specific calls by underground Arab terrorists. A leaflet issued by the Palestinian uprising's underground leadership called for "the destruction and burning of the enemy's properties, industry and agriculture."
Iranian-Syrian Nuclear issues And Growing Mistrust of IAEA Director in Washington, Paris and Jerusalem
Oct. 30….(DEBKA) French defense minister Herve Morin said Monday, Oct. 29, he has information that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. He thus publicly contradicted remarks made by IAEA director Mohammed ElBaradai that there is no such evidence. Morin, on a visit to the Persian Gulf emirates, spoke at the same time as the IAEA director’s address the UN General Assembly. DEBKAfile’s sources report that French President Nicolas Sarkozy plans a state visit to Jerusalem in a few weeks, during which he will the address the Knesset on the Iranian nuclear threat, counter-measures and his commitment to Israel’s security. Washington and Jerusalem are in intensive discussions over the prudence of Israel publicly leveling on its Sept. 6 attack on the Syrian installation, in consideration of the risk that a statement by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert could further raise war tensions. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Israel’s air force and navy have been on high alert for some days. Washington and Jerusalem are of one mind about the need to refute ElBaradei’s position that there are no grounds for nuclear allegations against Iran and Syria. Addressing the UN General Assembly Monday, the IAEA director admitted that Iran was flouting UN Security Council resolutions on two points: uranium enrichment continued and so did the construction of a heavy water plant in Arak. He made no reference to Iran’s current work with plutonium. The Wall Street Journal quoted a senior American official who has worked extensively on nuclear issues: “I would say there's no doubt now that Syria was in an early phase of a nuclear program." Some US diplomats were quoted by the paper as deriding the IAEA for failing to identify the Syrian program itself. Involving the IAEA could have bogged down the Syrian proliferation threat in endless rounds of negotiations with no action. "The Israelis decided to take care of this early on. We don't want to involve an agency that thinks it's in control, but isn't," said one diplomat.
The US Has Been Warned and Warned Time after Time
Oct. 30….(JNEWSWIRE) Administration officials in Washington are working around the clock to facilitate the convening of an international conference on the Middle East in Annapolis, Maryland next month. The primary purpose of this gathering will be to sanction the severance of Judea and Samaria from the rest of Israel’s national homeland, and out of it create a new Arab state called Palestine. Israel’s “eternal and indivisible capital” Jerusalem is also to be divided. On this score the international community is - without exception, in agreement. But all is not going well for chief conference-convener, US President George W. Bush, and his point man, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Ms. Rice has made numerous trips to the Middle East in recent months, and plans another hop over in early November - just days after completing her last shuttle. She has grown increasingly desperate to nail down some form of joint Israel-PLO agreement on which to base the conference so as to ensure it achieves some form of “success” before it actually takes place. Thank God the “Palestinians” who, as the by now classic saying goes, never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, are unable to settle for anything less than everything, which at least some Israelis understand would constitute an agreement on the Jews’ part to commit suicide. As a result, the most recent reports suggest the conference might not take place after all. This would spell a disaster for an administration that has pinned a substantial chunk of its hopes for a legacy on the “achievement” of creating Palestine. This week the Israeli Ynetnews website reported that Rice is blaming Iran for the unraveling of her plans, asserting correctly that Tehran is working with Hamas to scupper the conference. The gang of mullahs is “fanning flames in the region,” she says. Actually, it could well be Rice who is fanning flames. In the past two weeks, as she has pushed with all her God-given skills towards birthing an illegitimate country whose creation will enormously harm the security and survival prospects of the State of Israel, wild fires have ravaged the West Coast of her homeland, forcing up to one million people to flee their homes in what has become the biggest peacetime evacuation of Americans in the history of the United States. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Wednesday blamed the disaster on the convergence of “three things, very dry areas, very hot weather and then a lot of wind.” It had made, he said, “the perfect storm for a fire.” We’ve heard the phrase “perfect storm” before. It was back in 1991, when President George Herbert Walker Bush and Secretary of State James Baker coerced Israel into attending an international Middle East peace conference in Madrid. That gathering, which the US jointly sponsored with Russia, set in motion the train whose journey is meant to culminate with the establishment of a Palestinian state. As final arrangements were being made and conference delegates began heading for the Spanish capital, an extra-tropical low weather system started playing havoc with the entire Eastern Atlantic Seaboard of the United States. So rare was the tempest, that the National Weather Service labeled it “the perfect storm.” The damages it caused totaled $1.5 billion. One place ravaged by the storm was the Bush Family Compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. It suffered windows blown out, water flooding in, and some structural damage as well. That 1991 storm was by no means the only disaster to strike America at a time when its leaders were revealing their readiness to betray Israel by putting the tiny Jewish homeland and its small population on the altar for the “greater good” of the United States. One particularly striking “coincidence” took place more recently, and in terms of magnitude on every level exceeded anything that had gone before. What unfolded were two back-to-back situations, each one spanning eight days. The second period began the day after the first eight days came to an end. On August 14, 2005, 14,000 Israeli soldiers and policemen moved into the Gaza Strip and began to order, threaten, push, and then drive thousands of Jews from their homes. The “Disengagement,” as it was officially known, was carried out by the Israeli government under the leadership of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Notwithstanding its antiseptic title, it was the vicious uprooting and turning into refugees of men, women and children, and the wholesale destruction of their communities, towns and villages. It amounted to nothing less than the ethnic cleansing of one group of people from a piece of territory in order to appease another group of people who hated Jews and rejected their right to live there. For eight days we watched, and many of us wept, until all the Jews were gone. Hundreds of buses drove them out of Gaza and away. After they left, police went from house to house, marking each one with a special symbol to show that it had been checked, was empty, and could now be demolished. Beautiful houses people had built with their own hands and turned into homes filled with memories were bulldozed into piles of ugly rubble. The action was cruel, heartless, criminal. Sharon cannot be acquitted for what he ordered his forces to do - and more than a few people believe he fell ill and succumbed to the coma that imprisons him to this day because of his actions. But the real blame for this atrocity lies squarely at the door of the administration in Washington DC. While paying a whole lot of lip service to plucky little independent Israel, president after US president has sat in the White House and directed a foreign policy in the Middle East that has slowly but surely pushed Israel’s governments into surrendering their national patrimony for empty promises of peace the Israelis KNOW will never be honored. God, I believe, answered the crime of the hitnatkut in a way that was breathtakingly obviously His doing. On August 22 of that year, the Jews of Netzarim, the last of Gush Katif’s 17 communities, were expelled. Their departure officially marked the end of the 38-year-long Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip. On the very next day, a hurricane began forming over the Bahamas from where it would head directly for the United States. When it dissipated on August 31, eight days after it began, at least 1,836 people had lost their lives. More than $81 billion worth of damage had been done, making Katrina the costliest natural disaster in American history. Again, many people watched and wept at the tragic site of hundreds of thousands of people being driven from their homes. Thousands of buses took them out of New Orleans and away. Policemen went from house to house, marking each one with a special symbol to show it had been checked for bodies or occupants, and was now empty. It was so obvious it was almost bizarre, the way CNN interspersed its around-the-clock coverage of the evacuation from Louisiana with programming announcements about follow-up reports on the Gaza uprooting. We literally watched scenes of Israelis being made homeless in accordance with the wishes of the American government following scenes of Americans being made homeless by Katrina. Many American Christians, among them some who lost their homes and all their possessions, recognized in the monster hurricane God’s judgment for what the US, as chief sponsor of the process that is robbing the Jews of their land – was responsible for. The California wildfires, which are slowly being brought under control as I write this, began on October 20, two days after Secretary of State Rice completed a four-day visit to the Middle East. Bush and Rice are squeezing Israel into making more concessions to please the Palestinian Arabs so that they will go to Annapolis next month. There the plans are meant to be formulated that will lead to the uprooting of tens of thousands of Jews from their Judean and Samarian homes, the destruction of their property, and the final and irreversible handing over of that territory to the murderous and antisemitic PLO. As Washington pushes, California burns, and a million Americans have had to flee their homes. For the Bible believer who takes God at His Word when He promises to deal severely with the nations that hurt His people, it’s legitimate to ask: Has God allowed the fires that have burned up 700 square miles of American land as a warning to the Bush administration to stop pushing Israel towards a peace that can bring no peace? And if Rice goes ahead, turns the screws and forces Israel to the negotiating table in Maryland, will something even more devastating come upon the United States? I am terribly afraid that it will. If only Americans would understand how much their country has already paid for pursuing its ethically bankrupt policies in the Middle East. The policies are bankrupt because they are unjust; they are immoral; they are wrong. For decades, American and other world leaders have tried to force Israel to pay to keep the Arabs happy. From Carter to Bush, they have been willing to gamble with Israel’s existence, their chips pieces of Israel’s land and the lives of Israel’s Jews.
Jordan's King Urges Stronger Role for China in Middle East Peace Process
Oct. 30….(Weekend) King Abdullah II of Jordan urged China on Tuesday to take a stronger role brokering peace in the Middle East. China's rising economic influence and diplomatic clout could lend momentum to efforts toward resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and other lingering regional tensions, Abdullah said in a speech to students at Peking University. As a permanent veto-holding member of the U.N. Security Council, and a "country that has good relations with all parties in our region, China's role is destined to increase in the future," Abdullah said. "We are looking for a stronger role for China," he said. Jordan's ruler, whose visit marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the countries, said Jordanians regarded China as an "honest broker" in dealing with the nations of the Middle East. China maintains good relations with Israel and the Arab states, and in recent years has shown a willingness to be more involved in resolving regional conflicts. The country has a special envoy to the Middle East, who has made repeated trips to the region.
Fatah-Controlled TV Promises Elimination of Israel
UN’s IAEA Chief Lashes Israel Over Raid in Syria
Oct. 29….(YNET) Mohamed ElBaradei accused the Jewish state and the US of 'taking the law into its own hands', and says 'if countries have information that another country is working on a nuclear-related program, they should come to us. Chief UN nuclear watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei Sunday accused Israel of taking "the law into their own hands" with a raid on Syria, and demanded more information about what was hit. Neither Israel nor the United States has furnished "any evidence at all" to prove that the Syrian site bombed last month was a secret nuclear facility, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency told CNN. "That, to me, is very distressful because we have a system; if countries have information that the country is working on a nuclear-related program, they should come to us. We have the authority to go out and investigate," he said. "But to bomb first and then ask questions later, I think it undermines the system and it doesn't lead to any solution to any suspicion, because we are the eyes and ears of the international community." Israel has said it bombed a military target inside Syria September 6, but has provided no additional details, amid speculation that the target may have been a site storing nuclear materials from North Korea. ElBaradei said he had been told by Syria that the site was a military facility and "has nothing to do with nuclear." "I would hope if anybody has information, before they take the law into their own hands, to come and pass the information on," he said. Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has acknowledged for the first time that Israeli warplanes may have violated Turkey's airspace during the incursion into Syria, an official said Sunday. Olmert apologized to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan when the two men met in London Tuesday, the Israeli official said. Turkey had demanded an explanation from Israel after it was embarrassed by the discovery of jettisoned fuel tanks on its territory in the aftermath of the raid. Dr. ElBaradei requested any imagery, data or other evidence of such activity in Syria. He also turned to Russia and China for any information garnered by their military satellites and to Sweden where private firms maintain high-quality satellites in orbit over the Middle East. He asked them all for any pictures attesting to a nuclear project in Syria. But when none acceded to his request, he lost his temper and lashed out. The US and Israel have used the Syrian episode as an opportunity to demonstratively do their own respective things in their policies on nuclear issues, having reached a parting of the ways with the International Atomic Energy Agency. They will not hand over to ElBaradei the evidence collected attesting to Syria’s nuclear activities as long as the chief nuclear inspector refuses to say how he means to use it. Had he offered to send a team of inspectors to examine the suspect installation, the evidence would have been given him. Neither Washington nor Jerusalem will take the risk of ElBaradei, after receiving the materials, stating that the Israeli strike was unwarranted.
Clear Evidence Implicates Assad Personally in North Korean Nuclear Deal
Oct. 28….(DEBKA) President Bashar Assad was personally involved in Damascus’ nuclear deal with Pyongyang. Documentary proofs of this, obtained from the presidential bureau and signed by Assad in person, are now in the hands of the US and Israeli intelligence services, DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report. In one, Assad hands down a specific order in his own handwriting that North Korea not be charged for Syrian goods, including an annual shipment of 100,000 tons of Durham wheat for five years worth a total of $120 million. This is the equivalent of the value of the reactor for producing plutonium up to its most radioactive stage, which North Korea promised Syria. A high-ranking Western intelligence source speaking to DEBKAfile described the evidence against Assad in US and Israeli hands as solid and much closer to a smoking gun than the West has turned up against Iran’s nuclear program. The following sequence of events unfolds from the garnered documents:
Damascus and Pyongyang settled between them that the nuclear transaction would be masked as a joint venture to build a cement factory in northern Syria; meanwhile, North Korea would sell Syria cement for its development projects. According to DEBKAfile’s sources, North Korean freighters, which began putting in at Syria’s Latakia and Tartus ports in January 2007, unloaded cargoes of cement in which nuclear reactor components and materials were concealed. The North Korean traffic at these ports and the Durham wheat transaction attracted the attention of US and Israeli secret services. During the next eight months, up until the Israeli attack on Syria’s North Korean installation, wheat prices shot up on international markets. Indeed the price of Durham wheat doubled. Had this been a normal commercial transaction, Syria would have claimed additional North Korean goods in compensation. In fact, when import-export officials in Damascus, who knew nothing of the nuclear reactor tradeoff, pointed Assad’s office to the price fluctuations on the wheat market, they were told that the contracts signed by the president in person must go through without changes. When later, the Syrian wheat crop fell short of expectations, Syrian officials were again told to fill the North Korean orders in full. On Sept. 3, the North Korean “cement ship” Al Hamed docked at Tartus. The freight it unloaded was trucked directly to the “cement factory” at Al Tibnah in the Syrian Desert, east of the Euphrates River. The Israeli attack took place three days later. Last Tuesday, Oct. 23, the Syrian ambassador to Washington Imad Mustapha was invited to address the prestigious Institute on Religion and Public Policy. In answer to a question, he acknowledged, “Syria gives North Korea wheat, oil and other products.” He declined to disclose what Syria got in return. When pressed on this point, Mustapha said in exasperation: “Stuff. We get stuff.” Thursday, Oct. 25, a number of leading American media simultaneously ran satellite images of a nuclear installation standing at Al Tibnah in August 2007 and the same site in the second half of September, after it had been cleared of the debris left by the Israeli attack. This time, Damascus found nothing to say, although Syrian officials had commented on former leaks related to the episode. DEBKAfile’s Syrian sources report that this and other symptoms indicate that Assad finds himself in a tight corner. He is at a loss to explain to the Syrian public and, worse, to most of his colleagues in the political and military leadership who were kept ignorant of the nuclear transaction with North Korea, how he came to entangle the country in this ill-fated adventure. In the view of DEBKAfile’s Western intelligence source, the Syrian president’s internal and international plight is more acute than that of the Iranian regime or Saddam Hussein in the days leading up to the 2003 US invasion. No incontrovertible proof has so far been shown to demonstrate that Iran has attained the capacity to produce nuclear or radioactive weapons, any more than the Iraqi ruler was positively shown to have weapons of mass destruction. Assad’s case is more unfortunate; it is now supported by solid evidence in American and Israeli hands.
Iran accuses US, Israel of supporting Kurdish rebels
Oct. 28….(YNET) Iran's foreign minister on Sunday accused the US and Israel of supporting Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq, but his Turkish counterpart distanced himself from the claim, saying he didn't think Washington was behind the Iraq-based rebels but stressed that Ankara would do what was necessary to stop them. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters in Tehran at a news conference with Ali Babacan, Turkey's foreign minister, that "terrorist activities" have increased in northern Iraq since "foreign forces" arrived there. "From our point of view, efforts by Israel and the US are behind some terrorist activities. Most probably, some secret agreements have caused a lack of confrontation against terrorism," Mottaki said, referring to Iraq-based Kurdish rebels. "We hope this part of the US policy would be corrected," he said. But Babacan, who was in Iran to lobby for support for the Turkish side in its conflict with the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, expressed gratitude for Iran's cooperation but did not back Mottaki's accusations against the US and Israel, which are allies of Ankara. "I don't like to think that the US supports a terrorist group," Babacan said. The Turkish foreign minister instead stressed that Turkey would use whatever necessary to combat the PKK. "Turkey in fighting against terrorism and will use and support all mechanisms," Babacan said. "International cooperation and solidarity is the only way to fight terrorism." Mottaki offered vague support for Turkey against the PKK but did not elaborate on exactly what Iran would support. "Iran insists on the necessity of using required activities for stopping such terrorist operations," Mottaki said.
Turkey has demanded more action
Babacan's comments echoed those of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who on Saturday said Turkey will fight the Iraq-based Kurdish rebels when it is needed, regardless of international pressure. Erdogan said he would not be constrained by other nations - despite concerns from the United States, Iraq and other countries that an incursion would destabilize northern Iraq. The conflict in southeastern Turkey between government forces and guerrilla fighters has claimed nearly 40,000 lives since 1984. PKK fighters have killed at least 42 people in the past month, including some 30 Turkish soldiers killed in ambushes. In recent months, Turkey has demanded more action from the US and Iraq in the fight against the PKK - which Washington and the European Union have labeled a terrorist group. The sharp escalation in the fighting has brought Turkey to the brink sending troops south across the border into Iraq. Iran has its own problems with Kurdish opposition groups, particularly the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, known by its Kurdish initials PEJAK. An offshoot of the PKK, PEJACK is struggling for autonomy for Iran's Kurds due to alleged government discrimination, and the mountainous Iran-Iraq border region has been the scene of sporadic clashes between PEJAK and Iranian forces in recent years. PEJAK and PKK bases in Iraq's Mount Qandil region, right on the border with Iran and Turkey, have long been a sore point in relations between the three countries. Babacan also visited several Arab countries in recent weeks to gauge their support for a Turkish offensive into northern Iraq. Both the Egypt and Jordan have cautioned Turkey against unleashing a troop offensive against the rebels and urged dialogue. Alone among Arab countries was Syria, an Iran ally which has come out in support of Turkey.
Anti-Iran Rhetoric Worries UN Nuke Watchdog
(ElBaradei says he has no evidence Tehran is developing nuclear weapons)
Oct. 28….(MSN) The head of the UN nuclear watchdog said Sunday he had no evidence Iran was working actively to build nuclear weapons and expressed concern that escalating rhetoric from the US could bring disaster. "We have information that there has been maybe some studies about possible weaponization," said Mohamed ElBaradei, who leads the International Atomic Energy Agency. That’s why we have said that we cannot give Iran a pass right now, because there is still a lot of question marks. "But have we seen Iran having the nuclear material that can readily be used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weaponization program? No." ElBaradei said he was worried about the growing rhetoric from the US, which he noted focused on Iran's alleged intentions to build a nuclear weapon rather than evidence the country was actively doing so. If there is actual evidence, ElBaradei said he would welcome seeing it. "I'm very much concerned about confrontation, building confrontation, because that would lead absolutely to a disaster. I see no military solution. The only durable solution is through negotiation and inspection," he said. "My fear is that if we continue to escalate from both sides that we will end up into a precipice, we will end up into an abyss. As I said, the Middle East is in a total mess, to say the least. And we cannot add fuel to the fire," ElBaradei added.
WEEK OF OCTOBER 22 THROUGH OCTOBER 28
'US Will Strike Iran' if Diplomacy Fails
(Intel official says Washington promoting Palestinian state to pay for Arab support)
Oct. 26…..(WND) A senior Palestinian intelligence official said that based on meetings with American diplomats he "understood" the U.S. plans to target Iran's suspected nuclear installations in two to three months if negotiations with Tehran don't generate a major breakthrough. The official, speaking to WND yesterday on condition of anonymity, said according to what he "understood," the US will "pay" for Arab support for a US strike against Iran by creating a temporary Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank by next summer. The official met last week with US secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her trip here earlier this month to prepare for a US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian summit slated for next month in which Israel is expected to outline a future Palestinian state in most of the West Bank. Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in recent weeks hinted at willingness to give away sections of Jerusalem. The Palestinian intelligence official would not say if he was basing his information on any specific statements by US officials that a military operation against Iran was in the works. "It's based on what I understood from the Americans," he told WND. His statements come as the Bush administration today imposed a series of new sanctions on Iran, accusing the country of an illicit nuclear program and supporting terrorism throughout the Middle East. The sanctions specifically single out the elite al-Quds division of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terror entity guilty of weapons proliferation and aiding terrorism, including attacks against US troops in Iraq and aid to Palestinian terror groups and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. The US has made it illegal to do business with the Guard, the most powerful arm of Iran's fighting forces. Rice yesterday announced the sanctions were part of "a comprehensive policy to confront the threatening behavior of the Iranians." She repeated twice in a prepared statement that Washington remained committed to a "diplomatic solution" rather than military action, but US officials have told the media in recent weeks Bush has not taken the military option off the table. Iran denies it is engaged in illicit nuclear activities or that it is seeking nuclear weapons. The sanctions follow the resignation last week of chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, a move widely interpreted as a hardening of Iran's stance regarding US and international negotiations.
Putin Warns US Against Sanctions on Iran
Oct. 26….(AP) Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned strongly against new international sanctions on Iran, saying they would lead to a dead end. Putin, in Portugal for a summit with leaders of the European Union, said the standoff over Iran's nuclear program should be resolved through talks, pointing at North Korea as an example. "Why worsen the situation and bring it to a dead end by threatening sanctions or military action," Putin said in a veiled reference to the US push for harsher international sanctions against Tehran. Putin referred to President Bush in these terms; "Running around like a madman with a razor blade, waving it around, is not the best way to resolve the situation," the Russian leader said. Putin spoke after the Bush administration imposed sweeping new sanctions against Iran, cutting off key Iranian military and banking institutions from the American financial system for Tehran's alleged support for terrorism and nuclear weapons ambitions. Putin did not directly refer to the US actions. The Russia president said dialogue proved successful in dealing with North Korea. "Not long ago it didn't seem possible to resolve the situation with North Korea's nuclear program, but we have practically solved it relying on peaceful means," Putin said.
At the same time, Putin said that he reaffirmed Russia's strong opposition to the proliferation of nuclear weapons on his trip to Iran last week. Russia, which is building Iran's first nuclear plant, has steadfastly opposed all US pushes for harsher UN sanctions against Iran, saying there has been no evidence of Iran seeking nuclear weapons.
Bush and Rice at Odds on Annapolis and Israel Attack on Syria
Oct. 26….(DEBKA) For the first time since they began working together, President George W. Bush and his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice are visibly divided on two major foreign policy issues, both related to Israel: The Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, which is still sans date, participants or agenda, and Israel’s attack on the North Korean nuclear project in Syria on Sept. 6, which the president approved. As she feared, the resulting exposure of North Korea’s proliferation activities stirred a hornets’ nest against her bid to bring diplomacy on Pyongyang’s nuclear program to a successful conclusion with signed US-North Korean contracts for its liquidation. DEBKAfile’s Washington sources disclose that this week Bush questioned Rice on the prospects of the Annapolis meeting. “Can you do it?” he asked. “I’m trying,” she replied, thereby acknowledging it was far from being in the bag. The president was already skeptical, but he cooled further to the conference plan, those sources report, after listening to two American-Jewish delegations who visited the White House last week. Both voiced concern about Rice’s Middle East policies and the goals she was setting for the conference. They stressed that her expectations of the Palestinians were not only unrealistic but beginning to pose a threat to Israel’s national security. Bush assured the delegations that he would not let the conference descend into a platform for anti-Israel resolutions that prejudiced Israel’s security. The reason why Secretary Rice has so far not sent out invitations to the event, which was originally scheduled for late November, is that the State Department is still at sea over the Arab participants and their ranks. A question mark hangs over Saudi attendance, although Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak passed a message on to Rice when she visited Cairo earlier this month that Riyadh had no interest in the Annapolis event. He told her that if the Saudis stayed away, so too would most other Arab and Muslim governments. As for the North Korean issue, many circles in the Republican Party and the administration itself are critical of the heavy blanket of secrecy US officials have cast over the nature of the Israeli attack against Syria last month. They are accused of feeding information to the press for the purpose of shaping this story in such a way as not to impede the finalization of US-North Korean contacts. The magnitude and importance of Pyongyang’s nuclear assistance to Syria, which directly contravenes the substance of those contracts, are carefully glossed over. The more information emerging on the Israeli operation, the stronger the arguments for not signing accords with Pyongyang, they say, and cite two new revelations in particular:
1. It now transpires that there was not one Israeli operation in Syria but two: One targeted the unfinished nuclear reactors at At Tibnah east of the Euphrates River and the other, a military site. North Korea was involved deeply in both these Syrian projects, and not only the nuclear reactor.
2. The critics of Rice’s policies, some of whom administration officials briefed on the Israeli operations in Syria against a pledge of confidentiality, are suggesting that Syria had at least one other active partner as well as North Korea and Iran in its nuclear program. It is not clear at this time how far the president means to go towards bringing the North Korea issue to a close; or how much he is influenced by the revelations tumbling out on Pyongyang’s contraventions and the mounting disapproval in his party and administration. The Secretary of State’s most extreme antagonists go so far as to accuse her of putting her personal ambition to pull off diplomatic feats ahead of America’s national security interests. Some sources in the Middle East ascribe her intense drive for a conference in Annapolis to the same motive.
New Satellite Photos Reveal Syria Razed Facility to Hide Nuclear Evidence
Oct. 26….(Israel Insider) Newly released commercial satellite images show a suspected Syrian nuclear facility has been razed to the ground and wiped clean since it was hit September 6th by an Israeli air strike, the AP reported. American experts say that the cleanup will impede a proposed inquiry by international nuclear inspectors and indicates that Syria tried to conceal evidence of the facility's purposes. ''It took down this facility so quickly it looks like they are trying to hide something,'' said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, which examined the images. An image taken Wednesday by a DigitalGlobe commercial satellite shows tractors or bulldozers and scrape marks on the ground where the building stood in photos taken before the September Israeli attack, the AP reported, as well as what appears to be a trench where Syrians might have dug up buried pipelines connecting a water pumping station to the suspected reactor building. Albright said Syria were likely to have acted so quickly because the Israeli attack is believed to have blown a hole in the roof, which would have exposed the structures contents to spy planes and satellites and revealed whether the structure was meant to house a North Korean-style nuclear reactor, Albright said, adding that the fact that the structure got a roof so early in its construction indicates that it likely was a reactor. ''That's another bit of support that it was a reactor being built with North Korean help,'' he said. ''From what we understand, North Korea builds reactors in an old-fashioned way; the roof goes on early.'' More modern reactors leave the roof until last to allow large cranes to lift heavy equipment into place, he said.
US Raises Sanctions War on Iran
Oct. 25….(Ha Aretz) Ratcheting up the pressure on Tehran, the United States on Thursday designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and its elite Quds force a supporter of terrorism. A senior US official said Washington had imposed sanctions on more than 20 Iranian companies, banks and individuals as well as the Iranian defense ministry, in a bid to pressure Tehran to halt its nuclear program and curb its "terrorist" activities. Earlier Thursday, the Bush administration announced its plan to roll out a package of new sanctions against Iran aimed particularly at the Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Quds Force that US officials have accused of stirring up trouble in Iraq and elsewhere, according to published reports. Condoleezza Rice told a House committee on Wednesday that the administration shares Congress' goal of making sanctions tougher on Iran and declared that activities in Iraq by the Quds Force "are inconsistent with the Iranian government's obligations and stated commitment to support the Iraqi government." "This is a very powerful set of measures designed to send a message to Iran that there will be a cost to what they do," an official told the Post, which was the first to report the development. The United States has long labeled Iran as a state supporter of terrorism and has been working for years to gain support for tougher sanctions from the international community aimed at keeping the country from developing nuclear weapons. The sanctions announced Thursday are unilateral, however, and are believed to be the first of their type taken by the United States specifically against the armed forces of another government. The Post quoted officials as saying the sanctions will empower the US to financially isolate a large part of Iran's military and anyone inside or outside Iran who does business with it. Such steps could impact any number of foreign companies by pressuring them to stop doing business with the Revolutionary Guards or risk US sanctions. The Revolutionary Guards, formed to safeguard Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, has pushed well beyond its military roots, and now owns car factories and construction firms and operates newspaper groups and oil fields. The guards have gained a particularly big role in the country's oil and gas industry in recent years, as the national oil company has signed several contracts with a guards-operated construction company. Some have been announced publicly, including a $2 billion deal in 2006 to develop part of the important Pars gas field. Now numbering about 125,000 members, they report directly to the supreme leader and officially handle internal security. The small Quds Force wing is thought to operate overseas, having helped to create the militant Hezbollah group in 1982 in Lebanon and to arm Bosnian Muslims during the Balkan wars. The Bush administration accuses the Quds Force of sending fighters and deadly roadside bombs, mortars and rockets to kill American troops in Iraq.
Mufti: No Jewish Prayers in 'Palestine's' Jerusalem
Oct. 25….(JNEWSWIRE) If Jerusalem is divided, and it's eastern part made the capital of "Palestine," world Jewry will be forever cut off from the hope it has held onto for 2000 years, and be once and for all prohibited from ascending the Temple Mount and even from praying at the Western Wall. This warning was clearly sounded in an interview the former PLO-appointed mufti of Jerusalem gave to The Jerusalem Post this week, excerpts of which were published Thursday. Ikrema Sabri emphatically told the Post no Israelite temple has ever stood on the Temple Mount. What's more, the cleric insisted, the Western Wall, whose massive stones the entire world knows to have been laid by Herod the Great during the Roman occupation of the Land of Israel, had nothing to do with any temple either. "The wall is not part of the Jewish temple. It is just the western wall of the mosque. There is not a single stone with any relation at all to the history of the Hebrews.
"It was always only a mosque - all 144 dunams, the entire area," Sabri said. "No Jews have the right to pray there. No Jewish prayer. If the Jews want real peace, they must not do anything to try to pray on Al-Aqsa. Everyone knows that." The Mufti's ranting underscored how the Muslim Arab effort to wrest Israel's holiest site from the Jewish people and entrench it under irreversible Islamic control is intensifying in the run-up to next-month's US-sponsored Middle East conference. Washington is pushing for this conference, fully aware that the Arab side’s intent is to steal great chunks of Israel’s historic homeland for the creation of a juden-rein Palestinian state that will never tolerate Jewish and Christian worship on or near the Temple Mount, or at any other site deemed sacred to Islam.
FOJ Website Ministry Hits 1,000,000
Oct. 25….(FOJ) Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people that peruse FOJ on a regular basis, and for enabling FOJ to register one million visitors. The website garners about 400-500 visits per day. So, “Keep Focusing on Jerusalem” everyone, because it is the apple of God’s eye, and the place which is chosen for His name, and the place that Jesus shall soon return to establish his kingdom!
US to Transfer Another $410 Million to PA
Oct. 24….(YNET) The American government is planning to transfer $410 million to the Palestinian Authority in an effort to strengthen its president, Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, Ynet reported Wednesday. The Bush administration has come to Abbas' aid in the struggle against Hamas for public support, and is seeking to prove to the Palestinian people that choosing the path of peace pays off. The Palestinians received smaller sums in recent years from the US, and these were transferred mainly to specific projects, not directly to the Palestinian Authority treasury, as the Europeans tended to do. Sources in the US government stress that the aid marks an unprecedented effort aimed at saving the PA led by Abbas. The US is thereby swerving from its traditional handovers and is handing over a sum approaching half a billion dollars. Half of the American aid will be directed at infrastructures, $35 million will be transferred to the Food and Employment Bureau of the United Nations Refugees Works Agency (UNRWA). The remainder of the money will be combined with the PA's continuous budget. This is the largest aid program ever given to the Palestinians by the US. In Washington, sources say the aid underlines the high importance attached by the Bush administration to the need to support Abbas and Fayyad and their efforts to reach tangible goals on the ground for the Palestinian public.
Site Attacked in Syria Similar to N. Korean Nuclear Facility
Oct. 24….(YNET) Independent experts have satellite imagery of what they believe to be a Syrian nuclear site targeted in an Israeli air strike last month, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday. The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said the photographs taken before the Israeli attack show buildings under construction similar in design to a North Korean reactor, the newspaper reported. They also show what could have been a pumping station used to supply cooling water for a reactor, the Post said, citing experts David Albright and Paul Brannan of ISIS, a research group that tracks nuclear weapons and stockpiles. Israel, an important ally to the United States in the region, has confirmed it carried out an air strike on Syria on Sept. 6 but has not described the target. Syria said only that the target was a building under construction. Albright, a former UN weapons inspector, said the size of the structures suggested that Syria might have been building a gas-graphite reactor similar to the one North Korea built at Yongbyon, the paper reported. According to an ISIS report to be released on Wednesday, the Euphrates River site is just north of the desert village of At Tibnah in the region of Dayr Az Zawr and about 90 miles (145 km) from the Iraqi border, the Post reported. The Washington Post said some nuclear experts urged caution in interpreting the ISIS photos, noting the type of reactor favored by North Korea has few distinguishing characteristics visible from the air. "You can look at North Korea's (reactor) buildings, and they look like nothing," John Pike, a nuclear expert and director of GlobalSecurity.org, told the Post. The New York Times reported last week the site targeted by Israel was modeled on a facility North Korea used for stockpiling atomic bomb fuel. Syria has one declared, small research nuclear reactor under safeguard of the International Atomic Energy Agency and has denied hiding any nuclear activity.
America Can Chose to be Blessed Or Cursed
Oct. 23….(Bill Wilson/Montana News) The Western third and the Southeastern United States is under severe to extreme drought conditions, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center. Southern California is experiencing raging fires which have caused the evacuation of nearly 500,000 people. New Orleans is experiencing flooding. Atlanta’s water supply is running out. National gasoline prices are averaging over $2.80. China and Japan have been dumping the dollar on foreign markets, devaluing the dollar against other currencies. Oil prices are hovering at record levels. Recently, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law bills designed to teach homosexuality as normal in California’s public schools. A school board in Maine voted to give birth control pills to sixth graders without parental notification. The US Congress is considering legislation to require employers to hire homosexuals by not allowing businesses to discriminate based on “sexual orientation.” The Bush Administration’s relationships with China, Russia, Iran and Turkey have been strained in recent weeks, calling some attention to those nations that are prophetically involved in end time prophecies. In addition, President Bush has bent over backwards to promote other god’s at the expense of his own Christianity. In meeting with the Dalai Lama, Bush called him “His Holiness” and a great spiritual leader. Congress followed suit by awarding the Buddhist the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civilian. The US Mint created a coin in his honor. Earlier, the President, in responding to Ramadan said that he believes, “in an Almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God. That's what I believe.” Meantime, his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is pressuring Israel to divide the city of Jerusalem in a “land for peace” deal. Most people would never connect all these current events. But from a spiritual sense, they may well be connected. First, the United States through its leadership is on a fast track in turning against God. Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” If the leadership of this nation reflects the nation, it is apparent that America is turning away from the Lord. In Zechariah 12:9, the Lord says, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” These are days of great prophetic significance. The prophecies contain both blessings and judgments and while people cannot stop the march of prophecy, they may determine their place in it. It is time to stand firm in the Lord.
Turkish Forces Enmassed on Iraq Border
October 23…..(DEBKA) Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq offered Monday to lay down arms in an effort to stave off a Turkish invasion to destroy their jumping-off bases demanded by thousands of demonstrators out on Turkish streets. Ankara earlier confirmed the PKK took 8 Turkish soldiers hostage in their Sunday ambush and Turkish reprisal which left 17 soldiers, 32 Kurdish rebels dead. On a two-day visit to Britain, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the London Times Turkey does not need permission from anyone to defend itself. The latest clash Sunday was the most violent in a decade. Erdogan said he had repeatedly asked the US and Iraqi governments to expel the Kurdish PKK separatists from northern Iraq, but they had done nothing. Turkey’s patience is running out, he said, and it would do what was necessary. Foreign firms, including Turkish and Israeli contractors, are removing their operations and employees from Iraqi Kurdistan as Ankara reinforces the divisions massed for months on the Iraqi border following Sunday’s Kurdish ambush with heavy weapons near the Turkish town of Kusekova. DEBKAfile adds: the attacks and sweeping parliamentary approval for a military offensive against Kurdish rebel hideouts in northern Iraq four days ago will make it hard for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to continue to hold the army back from a large-scale cross-border incursion. Iraqi Kurds vowed Sunday to fight off any Turkish incursion. On relations with the US, which is pressing Ankara for restraint, Erdogan said: “A serious wave of anti-Americanism is sweeping Turkey.” He called America’s war in Iraq a failure and warned that if Congress approves a bill accusing Ottoman Turks of WWI genocide against Armenians, “the US might lose a very important friend.”
(FOJ) The Kurdish peoples are, together with the Arabs, Persians, and Armenians, one of the most ancient peoples of the Near East. The country they inhabit is called Kurdistan. The Kurds are a Sunni Muslim people living primarily in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. The 25 million Kurds have a distinct culture that is not at all like their Turkish, Persian, and Arabic neighbors. Kurdistan was conquered by the Muslim/Arabs in the 7th century, and the region was held by the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century, by the Mongols from the 13th to 15th century, and then by the Safavid and Ottoman Empires until World War I. It is this cultural difference between the Kurds and their neighbors that automatically creates the potential for conflict. Of the 25 million Kurds, approximately 10 million live in Turkey, four million in Iraq, five million in Iran, and a million in Syria, with the rest scattered throughout the rest of the world. The Kurds have had a long history of conflict with these other ethnic groups in the Middle East. The history of Kurds in the area actually began during ancient times. However, the desire for a Kurdish homeland did not begin until the early 1900’s, around the time of World War I. President Woodrow Wilson promised the Kurds a sovereign state in 1918 after the Allied victory over the Ottoman Empire. The formation of a Kurdish state was supposed to have been accomplished through the Treaty of Sevres in 1920, but with the formation of Turkey in 1923, Kemal Ataturk, the new Turkish President denied the Kurds their own state. This marked the beginning of the modern Turkish-Kurdish conflict. Kurdish forces aided the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, joining with US and British forces to seize the traditionally Kurdish cities of Kirkuk and Mosul. But again, the influence of Turkey in enabling the US to have a base at Incirlik, coupled with the fear of losing a valuable ally, caused the US to back away from assisting the Kurds in forming an independent state in Northern Iraq. So now, the fiasco of the Kurdish problem in Iraq is causing the US to lose Turkey as an ally, and the fear is that Turkey will soon throw its lot in with the Russians and Iran.
And this geo-political trend is something that the prophet Ezekiel lends insight into, as Turkey (Gomer-Togarmah) is portrayed as being allied with Magog in the Latter Days invasion against Israel.
Iraq Agrees Track Down on Kurd Rebels in Iraq
Oct. 23….(MSN) Iraq’s government, under growing pressure to crack down on Kurdish rebels using the country’s north as a base for guerrilla attacks in Turkey, ordered their offices closed Tuesday and promised to curb their movements and block their funds. Turkish troops were massing along the border, with military helicopters airlifting commando units into the area overnight. Earlier Tuesday in London, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that his country cannot wait forever for the Iraqi government to move. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the offices of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known by its Turkish acronym PKK, closed, and said the government will “not allow it to work on Iraqi territory.” Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, himself a Kurd, said Iraq’s central government and authorities in its Kurdish autonomous region in the north would work together to deny the rebels freedom of movement, funds and representative offices. He said a high-level political and military delegation would travel soon to Turkey. Zebari insisted there was a “resolve and insistence on the part of the Iraqi government” to cooperate with Turkey to resolve the border issue “and deal with the terrorism that Turkey is subjected to.” Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, also a Kurd, told reporters after meeting with Babacan later that his country had asked the PKK to stop its military attacks or leave the country. He made no mention of the PKK cease-fire he announced Monday. Erdogan also was quoted Tuesday in the country’s leading daily Hurriyet as saying that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had talked of a possible joint U.S.-Turkish operation against the rebels
Bush and Putin Dicuss Strategic Deal for Dumping Iran
Oct. 23….(DEBKA) The first hint that a strategic deal was brewing was dropped by Russian President Vladimir Putin. At a news conference in Tehran last week, he alluded to a shift in the controversy with Washington which might settle his dispute with President George W. Bush on the US missile shield in East Europe. His comment went largely unnoticed, except by officials in Tehran, who noted his reference to a possible understanding with the Americans, though not with Iran. Then, on Monday, Oct. 22, Bush and Putin talked at length on the phone and made further progress towards an understanding. The outline of the American role in the deal surfaced in Prague Tuesday, Oct. 23, when US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates suggested a possible delay in activating the proposed US missile interceptor project in Poland and radar station in the Czech Republic, until an Iranian threat was “definitely proved.” Gates articulated this concession for allaying Moscow’s strong opposition after he held talks with Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek. Gates added that the US would proceed with plans to build the sites, but possibly wait before putting them in working order. "We would consider tying together activation of the sites in Poland and the Czech Republic with definitive proof of the threat, in other words, Iranian missile testing and so on," Gates said. The proposal has already been presented to the Russians who have expressed interest. Gates described a related proposal that might mean permitting a Russian presence at US missile defense bases, including at the Polish and Czech sites. US president George Bush spoke a short while later at the National Defense University in Washington. He said the US-led missile defense system in Europe is urgent, but spoke positively about Putin’s offer of missile defense facilities in Azerbaijan and southern Russia. The entire project, said the US president, is “part of a broader effort to move beyond the Cold War” that could lead to “an unprecedented level of strategic cooperation” between Russia and the United States.” He referred to Iran as “an emerging threat that affects us all.” The Pentagon wants to install 10 interceptor rockets in Poland, linked to tracking radar in the Czech Republic and to other elements of the missile defense system based in the United States. Bush’s words and the plan outlined by Gates represent a major US concession to Russia and a triumph for Putin’s dogged opposition to the deployment of US missile defense bases in two former Warsaw Treaty nations. The Bush administration can also congratulate itself on bringing the Russian leader round to admitting that Iranian missiles are a threat to Europe; its corollary, the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is a threat to the world. As long as the deal is not wrapped up between the two world readers, DEBKAfile’s Washington and Moscow sources say these key questions remain open: How far will Putin go in his support for an American clampdown on Iran? Will tough sanctions by the UN Security Council and the world community be his limit? And what if Iran continues to defiantly press ahead with its nuclear weapons program in the face of a military showdown with the United States? Will Russia then look away? The Bush-Putin deal is still in the making, and it certainly will bear watching.
IMF Chief WARNS Dollar Could Abruptly Collapse
Oct. 23….(In The News) The head of the International Monetary Fund, Rodrigo Rato, warned Monday there are risks of an “abrupt fall” in the dollar, linked to a loss of confidence in dollar assets.
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity the sea and the waves roaring” Luke 21:25
“For the love of money is the root of all evil …..” 1 Timothy 6:10a
There are risks that an abrupt fall in the dollar could either be triggered by, or itself trigger, a loss of confidence in dollar assets,” Rato told the IMF board of governors. He also appeared to suggest that Europe could take steps to temper the strong appreciation of the euro. “There is a risk that exchange rate appreciation in countries with flexible exchange rates, including the euro area, could hurt their growth prospects, and that in these circumstances protectionist pressures could worsen,” he said on the final day of the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. The outgoing IMF managing director spoke as the European single currency hit a new high of 1.4347 dollars and global equity markets tumbled amid growing fears a US housing-related credit crunch could pitch the world’s biggest economy into recession. “The uncertainty, comes from downside risks that are much higher than they were six months ago. The turbulence in the credit markets is a warning that we cannot take the benign economic environment of recent years for granted,” he said. “We still do not know the full effects of the decline in the housing market and the sub-prime problems of the US economy. Further disruption in financial markets and further falls in housing prices could lead to a global economic downturn.” A crisis in the risky US sub-prime mortgage sector, where loans are given to homebuyers with poor credit histories, erupted this year as borrowers defaulted on mortgages amid rising interest rates and a sharp slump in US housing prices. The spillover of the US credit crunch into global financial markets roiled stock markets worldwide in August and although they have recovered somewhat, the uncertainties of the extent of the credit problems continues to weigh on investors. Rato warned that a downturn would exacerbate other risks that already exist in the world economy, citing some emerging economies’ reliance on capital inflows and the potential that central banks may not curb rising inflationary pressures. “Some emerging economies that have relied on external financing to fund large current account deficits could be tipped into crisis by a combination of reduced demand for their exports and tighter financial market conditions,” he said, adding that those developments would also worsen the prospects of low-income countries. “And there is a risk that central banks may falter in fighting the inflation which has been spurred in some countries by higher oil and food prices.” Rato told the governors of the 185-nation financial institution aimed at fostering global financial stability that it was imperative to take action to avoid such a calamitous downturn from global imbalances. “All of these risks make action on already agreed policies more urgent,” he said. “Major economies need to take supporting policy actions,” said the former Spanish finance minister, who is stepping down nearly two years before the end of his five-year mandate. His successor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a former Socialist finance minister of France, takes office on November 1. In an apparent reference to recent pressures from France and other members of the 13-nation euro-zone on the European Central Bank to take action to curb the Euro’s sharp appreciation, which is weighing on euro-zone exports, Rato said: “Policymakers need to respect the independence of central banks and support their vigilance on inflation.”
Lebanon Will be a Second Iraq, says Hizballah Against US
Oct. 23….(DEBKA) Nawaf Mussawi, one of the leaders of the Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite movement, has threatened: “We will treat US soldiers in Lebanon like an army of occupation.” Lebanese and Israeli military sources advise taking the Hizballah threat seriously. Its gunmen will violently oppose the American plan for its military and instructors to provide the Lebanese national army with an edge against the Hizballah militia. They will also fight tooth and nail any American bid to implement the UN Security Council Resolution 1559 ordering the disbanding of Hizballah, and no doubt receive orders from Tehran to pre-empt a US military presence and bases in Lebanon. The Shiite extremists’ bellicose response follows exclusive disclosures in of the master plan developed by US CENTCOM chief, Adm. William Fallon, for upgrading and augmenting the Lebanese army. It entails the creation and training of four new brigades as elite units to provide a shield for the Beirut government. On Sept. 7, 2007, “the US army undertook to establish within six months, four Lebanese commando brigades trained to secure the regime against any foreign or domestic threat and be professional enough to take on the Iran-backed Hizballah militia.”On Sept. 21, DEBKA-Net-Weekly 318 supplemented its first revelation by reporting: “For the first time since President Ronald Reagan pulled all US forces out of Lebanon, an American government is planning to build a number of military bases in the country around the hub of a big air base at Kleiat in the north, facing the Syrian border. Lebanese chief of staff Gen. Michel Suleiman commented last week that if anyone in the Beirut government had known of these plans, they would have reached him. However, Monday, Oct. 22, the pro-Syrian Lebanese paper Al-Safir reported that the Americans were about to establish military bases in Lebanon. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Adm. Fallon is due in Lebanon shortly to help American plans for the Lebanese army to move along. Nerves in Beirut are growing tauter: US military projects move forward, on the one hand, Tehran and Damascus are pro-active in Lebanon’s military and political affairs, on the other, and the repeatedly delayed disputed presidential election, now postponed to Nov. 12, hangs over Lebanese heads. Our sources add that Hizballah’s threat of a “second Iraq” in Lebanon may be interpreted as terrorist strikes against American military instructors and troops, up to and including a civil war on the same Shiite-Sunni sectarian lines bedeviling Iraq. According to our military sources, the 25,000-strong Hizballah militia is better organized and trained than any of its opposite numbers in Iraq. Its leaders are not averse to reminding Washington of the events of 1983, when Syria and Hizballah using the terror tactics of massacre and hostage-taking, drove American forces out of Lebanon for 24 years.
Israel Worried Egypt Allowing Terrorists to Enter the Gaza Strip
Oct. 23….(Ha Aretz) Israel is becoming increasingly worried that Egypt will allow more Palestinian terrorists to enter the Gaza Strip through the Sinai border. The government and defense establishment are concerned over the closer ties Egypt and the Hamas government are forging in the Strip, as well as Egypt's turning a blind eye to continued smuggling from Sinai to Gaza. An Israeli government and defense delegation to Cairo recently protested Egypt's allowing gunmen to enter the Strip from its territory. At the beginning of October Egypt allowed some 85 Hamas militants to enter the Gaza Strip from Sinai after a wait of a few months. The group reportedly included experts in manufacturing bombs, rockets and mortars, who had undergone extensive training in Iran and Lebanon. The Palestinian media later reported that the group, which entered the Strip via Rafah and the Philadelphi Route, had been allowed to return in exchange for turning over an Al-Qaida activist from Sinai, whom Hamas had apprehended in the Gaza Strip. Israeli ministers who visited Cairo during the past few weeks have also raised Jerusalem's concerns at meetings with senior Egyptian officials. Egypt claims that Israeli soldiers are taking part in weapons smuggling from its territory. According to Palestinian sources, dozens more gunmen are expected to cross into the Strip from Sinai, including some who were trained in Iran. Meanwhile Israel continues to gather intelligence on smuggling from Sinai to the Gaza Strip, which has greatly increased since Hamas has taken over power. Recently released information indicates that no less than 1,650 RPG rockets and some 6,000 bombs have been smuggled into Gaza since the beginning of the year. Yuval Diskin, the head of the Shin Bet security service, told the cabinet meeting Sunday that an estimated 73 tons of explosives have been smuggled into Gaza through tunnels since June. Millions of bullets for light weapons and tons of potassium, used to manufacture bombs, have also crossed the Gaza-Sinai border. Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip have said recently that intensive talks are underway between Hamas and the Egyptian security forces over Hamas' request to allow approximately 100 wounded Palestinians into Egypt to receive medical care. Most of the injured are Hamas members, some of whom were hurt in clashes with Fatah or the Israel Defense Forces.
Olmert: Iran has Crossed Red Line for Developing a Nuclear Weapon.
(It’s too late for sanctions)
Oct. 22 ….(DEBKA) This is the message prime minister Ehud Olmert is carrying urgently to French President Nicolas Sarkozy Monday and British premier Gordon Brown Tuesday, according to DEBKAfilee’s military and intelligence sources. Last week, Olmert placed the Israeli intelligence warning of an Iranian nuclear breakthrough before Russian president Vladimir Putin, while Israel’s defense minister Ehud Barak presented the updated intelligence on the advances Iran has made towards its goal of a nuclear weapon to American officials in Washington, including President Bush. Olmert will be telling Sarkozy and Brown that the moment for diplomacy or even tough sanctions has passed. Iran can only be stopped now from going all the way to its goal by direct, military action. Information of the Iranian breakthrough prompted the latest spate of hard-hitting US statements. Sunday, Oct. 21, US vice president Cheney said: "Our country, and the entire international community, cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its grandest ambitions.'' Friday, the incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen said US forces are capable of operations against Iran’s nuclear facilities or other targets. At his first news conference, he said: “I don’t think we’re stretched in that regard.” It is worth noting that whereas Olmert’s visits are officially tagged as part of Israel’s campaign for harsher sanctions against Iran, his trips are devoted to preaching to the converted, leaders who advocate tough measures including a military option; he has avoided government heads who need persuading, like German Chancellor Angela Merkel or Italian prime minister Romano Prodi. The Israeli prime minister hurried over to Moscow last Thursday after he was briefed on the hard words exchanged between Putin and Iran’s supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran Tuesday, Oct. 16. According to DEBKAfile’s sources, the Russian leader warned the ayatollah that the latest development in Iran’s nuclear program prevented him from protecting Tehran from international penalties any longer; the clerical regime’s options were now reduced, he said, to halting its clandestine nuclear activities or else facing tough sanctions, or even military action. The Russian ruler’s private tone of speech was in flat contrast to his public denial of knowledge of Iranian work on a nuclear weapon. It convinced Olmert to include Moscow in his European itinerary. Our sources in Iran and Moscow report that Putin’s dressing-down of Khamenei followed by his three-hour conversation with the Israeli prime minister acted as catalysts for Iranian hardliners’s abrupt action in sweeping aside senior nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani Saturday, Oct. 20 and the Revolutionary Guards General Mahmoud Chaharbaghi’s threat to fire 11,000 rockets and mortars at enemy targets the minute after Iran comes under attack. Our military sources say Tehran could not manage to shoot off this number of projectiles on its own. Iran would have to co-opt allies and surrogates, Syria, Hizballah, Hamas and pro-Tehran militias in Iraq to the assault. DEBKAfile’s US military sources disclosed previously that if, as widely reported, Syria is in the process of building a small reactor capable of producing plutonium on the North Korean model, Iran must certainly have acquired one of these reactors before Syria, and would then be in a more advanced stage of plutonium production at a secret underground location
Iran: We'll Blitz Israel with 11,000 Rockets
Oct. 22….(Jnewswire) Consumed with their hatred of the Jew, and eaten up by a desire to champion the final war against Israel, Iranian leaders vowed Saturday to unleash 11,000 missiles in a single minute against the Jewish state if Iran's nuclear facilities come under attack. So outrageous was the threat that Israeli experts quickly dismissed it as a sign of Iranian "insecurity" and perhaps a mega-bluff to try stave off what appears to be an increasingly imminent US- or Israel-led attack against the rogue state's atomic weaponry program. The headline reporting the threat dropped quickly off the front page of Israeli news agencies. No one disputes that Iran has mass-destruction weapons that pose a very real existential threat to Israel. What the analysts apparently cannot or will not accept, however, is that that country's maniacal mullahs believe so staunchly in the supremacy of their god over the LORD God of Israel, and in the rewards that await the shaheed (Muslim martyr who dies killing Jews) in Paradise, that they are wide open to carrying out a "suicide" attack that is national in its scope. Were Tehran to make good on its promise, even if it stopped short of using WMDs, the devastation it could wreak on Israel is almost incomprehensible. Last summer saw the Lebanese Hizb'allah successfully terrorize the Jews when, over the course of a month, they rained 4,000 Katyusha rockets across the northern reaches of Israel, claiming dozens of lives, driving more than a million Israelis from their homes, and inflicting billions of dollars in damage to the Israeli economy. Iran's arsenal is enormously more potent than anything the Hizb'allah could wield.
Priestly Blessing on Temple Mount
Oct. 22….(IsraelNN.com) A historic first: Last week, during a special visit to the Temple Mount, the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26) was recited there, for arguably the first time since the 1st-century destruction. The Blessing is recited daily in synagogues in Israel by descendants of Aaron the Priest, and only on festivals in the Diaspora.
The special visit was held to commemorate the 842nd anniversary of Maimonides's famous visit to the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site. A group of some 25 Jews, organized by the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, marked the special day with a commemorative visit. Giving extra-special meaning to the occasion was a spontaneous Priestly Blessing delivered to the group by Yehuda Katz, the lead singer of the Reva L'Sheva band, and Eliezer Breuer, originally of the former Soviet Union and now from Kiryat Arba. Rabbi Chaim Richman, one of the organizers of the trip, said, "This was probably the first time since the destruction of the Temple [1,928 years ago] that the Priestly Blessing was delivered on our holiest site. At times like these, when there is talk of giving away our precious places, and when despair is sometimes in the air, events of this nature serve to remind us that God has not forgotten about us, and that He still has big plans for both us and the Holy Temple, and that the Temple will yet become the focal point of the world once again."
Iran's Chief Nuclear Negotiator Resigns
Oct. 22….(Breitbart) Iran's top nuclear negotiator resigned Saturday in a move seen as a victory for the hardline president that could push the country into an even more defiant position in its standoff with the West. Ali Larijani was viewed as more moderate than President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and the two often clashed over how to negotiate with the world on the nuclear issue. His resignation and replacement by the little known deputy foreign minister for European and American affairs, Saeed Jalili, puts the nuclear portfolio firmly in the president's hands just days before a key meeting with European negotiators. It was not clear whether Larijani left his post under pressure, but his departure was interpreted by many here as giving Ahmadinejad a free hand in dictating his views to the less experienced Jalili. Government spokesman Gholam Hussein Elham gave no specific reason for the resignation other than to say Larijani wanted to focus on "other political activities." "Larijani had resigned repeatedly. Finally, the president accepted his resignation," Elham told reporters. The United States and some of its allies accuse Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. "Larijani had become frustrated with Ahmadinejad's rhetoric. The two didn't share identical views on how to deal with the outside world," he said. Larijani believed a political solution to the standoff was possible and worked closely with European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana. His efforts were often hindered by Ahmadinejad's fiery rhetoric, said Ismail Gerami Moghaddam, a reformist lawmaker. "Larijani's talks with Solana were promising and could have led to a political settlement but Ahmadinejad and his group are seeking adventurism and didn't want talks to succeed," he said. The move also suggests that the nation's ultimate arbiter, Khamenei, has tilted toward Ahmedinejad and away from his former protege Larijani. Larijani had become frustrated with Ahmadinejad's rhetoric. The two didn't share identical views on how to deal with the outside world," he said. Larijani believed a political solution to the standoff was possible and worked closely with European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana. His efforts were often hindered by Ahmadinejad's fiery rhetoric, said Ismail Gerami Moghaddam, a reformist lawmaker. "Larijani's talks with Solana were promising and could have led to a political settlement but Ahmadinejad and his group are seeking adventurism and didn't want talks to succeed," he said. The move also suggests that the nation's ultimate arbiter, Khamenei, has tilted toward Ahmedinejad and away from his former protege Larijani. John Bolton, the Bush administration's former point man on the Iran nuclear issue, said Larijani's resignation was "a clear victory for Ahmadinejad" and shows that "the leadership is determined to continue with nuclear program" including uranium enrichment. Bolton said the conflict between Larijani and Ahmadinejad is "part of the larger struggle for power after Khamenei dies." Ahmadinejad was elected president in 2005 and appointed Iraqi-born Larijani, a former Revolutionary Guards Corps commander and a close ally of Khamenei to replace Hasan Rowhani, considered a moderate. Ahmadinejad had accused Rowhani and his team of technocrats as weak and claimed they made too many concessions in nuclear talks with European nations. After Larijani was appointed, Iran took a more defiant approach to its nuclear program. It resumed uranium enrichment activities, prompting resolutions by the UN Security Council imposing sanctions on Iran in December 2006 and in March.
WEEK OF OCTOBER 14 THROUGH OCTOBER 21
Olmert Rushes to Moscow to Discuss Iran
Oct. 19….(In The News) Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, left, shake hands during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007. Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert brought his country’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions Thursday to President Vladimir Putin, whose high-profile visit to Tehran this week underlined Russia’s close ties with Israel’s foe. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made a surprise trip to Moscow on Thursday to discuss Iran’s nuclear program with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who just returned from talks with Iranian leaders in Tehran. The two leaders also were expected to discuss a reported arms deal that Russia is to sign with Syria, and Russia’s role in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking efforts. Olmert’s visit, expected to last just a few hours, was announced only after Putin had returned from Iran, where he vowed Tuesday to support Iran’s pursuit of nuclear energy and warned “outside forces,” hinting at the United States, against using force against Tehran. After greeting Olmert at the Kremlin, Putin said, “We know how concerned you are about the situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear program. I am ready to share the results of my visit.” In response, Olmert said he would “be glad to hear from you about the results of your trip to Iran and talk about other concerns.” Journalists were escorted out of the room after the brief remarks. Earlier, Israeli government spokeswoman Miri Eisin said Olmert would make clear the Israeli position that an Iranian nuclear capability would threaten the world. According to Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper, Olmert was carrying “an unequivocal message to the Russian president: In a situation in which Iran has nuclear weapons and Syria has sophisticated weapons from Russia, Israel will have to weigh its actions against these threats.” Israel considers Iran to be a threat to its existence, while Russia is a major provider of technology for Tehran’s nuclear program, which Washington and its Western allies suspect is directed at the development of nuclear weapons. Putin’s meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was likely seen by both Iran and Israel as a show of support for a president who has called for Israel’s demise. President Bush said Wednesday he wanted to get a readout directly from Putin about his visit to Iran, and to know whether Putin “continues to harbor the same concerns” as Bush about Iran’s nuclear program. He also issued a warning that a nuclear-armed Iran could trigger World War III. Russia has continuously used its clout as a veto-wielding UN Security Council member to water down two sets of sanctions against Tehran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, which can lead to the development of weapons. Moscow has since resisted a US push for additional sanctions. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Wednesday a new sanctions resolution was warranted, and that the need previously to secure Russian and Chinese support “led to some compromises on the nature of the sanctions. I hope this will not (be) the case this time.
US Senator Coleman: 'If Action is Taken Against Iran, it's not going to be Israel Alone'
Oct. 19….(Jerusalem Post) If military action is undertaken against Iran, Israel won't be doing it alone, US Senator Norm Coleman told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday. "If action is going to be taken, it's not going to be Israel alone," Coleman (R-Minnesota), the ranking member of the Senate foreign relation's Near East subcommittee. "The reality is that Israel would have to have approvals and authorities. If something is taken, the United States is going to be part of that. We have to understand that. There is no saying, 'Israel did it.' "I think there's a consensus here as to the nature of the threat. I don't think there's consensus yet as to the span of time with which we have to address it," said Coleman.
Iran Sanctions Need Russian Backing to be Effective
Oct. 19….(Ha Aretz) Russian support of increased economic sanctions against Iran is necessary to stop the Islamic regime from developing nuclear weapons, former National Security chief Major General Giora Eiland told Army Radio on Friday. "Israel's central mistake has to do with its misunderstand of the Russia's relationship with the United States," Eiland was quoted as saying. "In this regard, we could might have served to turn the American attention to the possibility of compromising with the Russians on certain matters, if the nuclear issue is so important to us and to Washington." Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday told Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during their talks in Moscow that the Kremlin always takes Israeli security into account when determining its Middle East policy. Still, the Russian leader told Olmert that Russia would not support Israel's push for harsher sanctions on Iran. Olmert was in Moscow on an unexpected visit to press the Kremlin to support new economic sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear activities and urging Russia not to sell arms to Iran or Syria. According to a senior defense official involved in the Iranian issue, the prime minister's hastily scheduled visit to Russia stemmed from a situation assessment two weeks ago that discerned a "significant retreat in Russia's position on continued diplomatic activity to impose sanctions on Iran via the Security Council." During the talks, Putin briefed Olmert on his visit to Tehran earlier this week, while Olmert briefed the Russian president on Israel's intelligence assessments of Iran's nuclear program. Olmert said economic sanctions could persuade Tehran to halt uranium enrichment and its drive to acquire nuclear weapons, but to do so, they must be stepped up. The meeting came amid mixed signals over the issue from Putin and Russian resistance to a new, third round of United Nations sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment. Olmert told Putin that Russia could exert a stabilizing influence in the Middle East, but only by "giving due weight to Israel's security interests." Putin replied that Russian policy always takes Israel's security into account. Meanwhile, President Shimon Peres said Thursday that Iran is developing nuclear weapons to sow war and destruction. "Everyone knows what its true intentions are, and many intelligence organizations worldwide have clear evidence of this," the president said in a press statement. "Even if Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is not convinced that Iran is developing nuclear capabilities for the purpose of war, everyone knows what its intentions are." "The world must open its eyes wide, before it is too late. Many times in history, it was already too late to prevent man-made horrors and bloodshed. That was the case with Stalin and Hitler, and now, we are approaching a similar situation with [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad," the president continued, adding Ahmadinejad calls openly for Israel's destruction and is investing billions in developing long-range missiles with nuclear warheads.
Back to the USSR? Putin's Superpower Goals
Oct. 19….(JREPORT) Russia and Israel are inexorably heading toward conflict - violent conflict, and very soon. Passions will be roused, national pride will be at stake, and the consequences for the loser in the international arena will be severe.
(Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin head to their meeting in Moscow Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006.)
The top news story in Russia yesterday was not President Vladimir Putin's meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, it was Putin's annual televised call-in interview broadcast to the Russian people. He opened the program by praising the national team's recent victory over England: "The victory was a result of team spirit, the professionalism of the trainer and the support of the entire nation," he said. How would Putin feel about a defeat at the hands of the Israeli squad? Well, at the last meeting between Olmert and Putin almost exactly a year ago, the former sought to break the ice in their discussion by noting a recent game between their respective national teams in which Israel had surprisingly tied Russia 1-1. "I want you to know, Mr. President," said Olmert jocularly, "that in Israel we are very appreciative that in the sphere of sports, at least when it comes to soccer, you did not demonstrate convincing superiority over us." The Russian leader, as the Post's Herb Keinon noted, was not amused. "Olmert, as did many in the room, looked at Putin for some kind of reaction. But Putin stood there sphinx-like, as if Olmert's words in Hebrew were not translated for him, or that the translator mistranslated and Olmert had said something of utmost earnestness." Maybe, one journalist quipped, he just doesn't like soccer. Now we know he likes soccer. What Putin presumably does not like is the presumption of leaders of small nations equating themselves with a superpower such as Russia. Yes, superpower. Putin has made it increasingly clear in recent years that's how he regards the portion of the former Soviet Union over which he rules, and that's how everyone else should, too. He left no doubt about it in his television interview yesterday, especially with his announcement that Russia will spend some 6 billion rubles ($240b.) of its oil-riches to fuel a military buildup he himself described as "not simply big, but grandiose." Grandiose, indeed; it will be Moscow's biggest arms drive since the Cold War. And it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Russia is primarily arming itself to challenge the supremacy of the United States in a way that constitutes a return of sorts to the Cold War. As Putin himself put it: "Russia, thank God, is not Iraq, and Russia has enough forces and funds to defend itself and its interests both on its own territory and in other parts of the world." Russia's Middle East policy today, some experts assert, is not driven as it was in the past by an ideological bias that makes it innately antagonistic to the Jewish state. Rather, Putin is motivated by pure realpolitik to protect Russia's national interests. With sufficient diplomatic persuasion and economic sticks and carrots, Olmert hopes Moscow can be steered away from its current policy of providing military support to such regimes as Iran and Syria. Maybe. But there's another way of interpreting Putin's actions in the past few years - one that suggests that the way ahead with Russia may be far more problematic for such nations as Israel. Back in the early 1990s, shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, political philosopher Frances Fukuyama published a hugely influential essay entitled "The End of History." Fukuyama didn't mean the end of historical events, of course, or even of wars between democracies and dictatorships. But he did think that democracy as an ideology had emerged triumphant: "What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." In retrospect, Fukuyama's thesis looks overly optimistic, and has been criticized especially for overlooking the rise of radical Islamism. Fukuyama in response has pointed out that Islamic extremism as an ideology - unlike Marxism - holds little attraction for the non-Muslim world, nor does it has much chance of seizing the reins of government in any of the globe's most militarily powerful nations. A more serious intellectual challenge to Fukuyama's view has come, perhaps not surprisingly, from here in Israel. Just this summer, Tel Aviv University Prof. Azar Gat published a piece in the prestigious periodical Foreign Affairs, entitled "The Rise of Authoritarian Capitalism." While not downplaying the radical Islamic threat to democracies, Gat writes, "The second, and more significant, challenge emanates from the rise of nondemocratic great powers: the West's old Cold War rivals China and Russia, now operating under authoritarian capitalist, rather than communist, regimes. China and Russia represent a return of economically successful authoritarian capitalist powers, which have been absent since the defeat of Germany and Japan in 1945, but they are much larger than the latter two countries ever were." This would be bad news not just for the United States, but for Israel as well, because as Gat puts it: "Beijing, Moscow and their future followers might well be on antagonistic terms with the democratic countries, with all the potential for suspicion, insecurity and conflict that this entails - while holding considerably more power than any of the democracies' past rivals ever did." In this view, Putin's support for Iran and Syria is not just intended to achieve the short-term objectives of thwarting American goals in the region, or shoring up Russia's southern flank. It is also because the new Russia he is creating, just as the old USSR he once served as a KGB spymaster, is ideologically committed to authoritarian-dictatorial regimes, and innately hostile to those such as Israel that uphold liberal democratic values. If so, Prime Minister Olmert's trip to Moscow Thursday, despite the polite welcome he received in the Kremlin, was likely destined to be in vain from the start. And if Putin succeeds in tightening his grip on the Kremlin in the years to come, it might not only be on the soccer pitch where Russia and Israel find that achieving their respective goals unavoidably means pitting each one's national interests against the other
President Bush Displeased with Olmert’s Trip to Moscow for talks with Putin on Iran’s Nuclear Threat
Oct. 19….(DEBKA) President Bush unexpectedly joined Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak for an unplanned meeting in the office of US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley Thursday, Oct. 18. The three-way meeting was expanded to an hour and pointedly centered on the Iranian nuclear issue as a rejoinder to the Olmert trip to Moscow and to indicate the President’s disapproval if not his outright anger. The Olmert-Putin Kremlin conversation lasting three hours turned on the Israeli prime minister’s request for Moscow to support a third, tough round of sanctions against Tehran. An official traveling with Olmert said he was pleased with the results of the meeting and found great understanding of the Israeli position, especially on the Iranian issue, from the Russian president. A senior US source disclosed that the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, still in Jerusalem at the tail end of her Middle East shuttle, voiced disapproval of Olmert’s planned trip to Moscow when they met Wednesday, Oct. 17. She advised him not to interfere in US-Russian interchanges on Iran. US officials say if Olmert wants to go his own way on Iran and work with Putin, he need not come to us for help. And Israeli intelligence source added: If Putin is so understanding of the Israeli position, how come he promised Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to complete the Bushehr atomic reactor and provide it with fuel? Putin’s actions in Tehran provoked the Bush reference to the danger of a third world war if Iran was helped to acquire a nuclear weapon. Olmert’s trip to Moscow, said a US source, countermanded the president’s position.
FOJ Note: Olmert’s trip to cower to Putin also reveals that Moscow and Putin are gaining more and more power in the Middle East diplomatic power game.
Zechariah's Warning to Bush and Condi
Oct. 19….(Hal Lindsay) The Palestinians and Israelis are scheduled to meet at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., this November. This major "peace summit" is the brainchild of the Bush administration and is under the supervision of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Though most of the world, especially the Arab world seems dubious about the summit's prospects for success, the United States appears bent on forcing some sort of "peace" upon that troubled region. To do so, Secretary Rice is pressuring Israel to drop all of it’s redline demands. Redlines are the points that cannot be conceded. Both sides have redlines. Both sides have points they will not give up, boundaries they will not cross. But the State Department is pressuring Israel to drop all of it’s redline conditions. For the first time, the division of Jerusalem is on the table. Since 1967, Israel had steadfastly claimed a united Jerusalem as "its eternal capital, never to be divided again." I will never forget when Gen. Moshe Dayan first stood before the Western Wall after the amazing six-day victory in June of 1967. He dramatically declared, "We have returned to all that is holy in our land. We have returned never to be parted from it again." Evidently, to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, "eternal" and "never" means about 40 years. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Palestinians are pressuring Secretary Rice to guarantee that Israel will relinquish sovereignty over the Temple Mount. What's more, they're making this guarantee a pre-condition before they'll even show up at the conference! According to a senior Palestinian official quoted by Haaretz, "No Arab country would agree for a final-status arrangement in which the Temple Mount was not in Muslim hands, particularly not Saudi Arabia." So, while Israel is not permitted any redline issues, the Palestinian redlines are not only permitted, but Secretary Rice is seeking guarantees of Israeli acceptance of them. And their No. 1 redline demand is that Israel must surrender the very heart and soul of Judaism as the price of admission to even start discussing peace. Just suppose for a moment that Israel and the Muslims were in reverse circumstances. Can you imagine the reaction to Israel demanding that the Muslims guarantee the surrender of Mecca as a precondition to "discussing" peace? The world would consider such a demand unthinkable. Yet Secretary Rice singled out areas of Jerusalem that will become part of a future Palestinian state. She reportedly told Palestinian negotiators that she would publicly blame Israel for the failure of next month's summit if the Jewish state didn't agree to evacuate east Jerusalem neighborhoods.
Rice traveled to the Middle East this week to help the Israelis and Palestinians formulate a joint statement ahead of November's conference. The Palestinians want the statement to outline specifically a Palestinian state including the Gaza Strip, West Bank and essentially all of east Jerusalem, which includes not only the Muslim holy places, but those of the Jews and Christians as well. They are ostensibly to be put under Jordanian supervision. But I remember what that was like before June 1967. There were walls and barbed wire separating East Jerusalem from Israel. Christian pilgrims had to carry their own luggage across an intimidating no man's land of about 40 meters while unfriendly Jordanian soldiers looked on. I am stunned the Bush administration is pressuring Israel to agree to all of the Palestinian demands in advance, with the threat that they'll be blamed for the summit's failure if they don't. In view of this, my question is, "What's the point of the conference?" "What's left to negotiate?" President Bush and Secretary Rice have already done the Palestinians' negotiating for them. And all of this despite the fact that the Palestinians have not lived up to one prerequisite condition outlined in Bush's own "Road Map for Peace." You know, I fear for both President Bush and Secretary Rice. I also fear for my beloved country. They must be ignorant of a prophecy God made 2,500 years ago through the Hebrew prophet Zechariah. It applies to this precise time and situation in history. God said, "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples. The people surrounding Jerusalem are all the current Muslim nations. As predicted, they have become intoxicated over possessing Jerusalem. Like drunken people, their emotions, inflamed with religious zeal, are causing them to do unwise, reckless and violent things. The truth is hardly any Muslims traveled to visit Jerusalem before the Jews returned to it. Now you would think there is no other holy place on earth as important to them. These are the exact conditions Zechariah predicted would be part of the last stages of this age. He continues, "And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for ALL peoples," meaning the entire world. Now here's the punch line: "ALL who would seek to heave it away will surely be cut in pieces." The original Hebrew makes the meaning of this even clearer. It reveals that everyone who tries to remove the heavy burden of the Jerusalem crisis will be utterly destroyed for getting involved with it. Isaac and Ishmael's fight over possession of Jerusalem has drawn the whole world into it, just as the prophets predicted. It is the culmination of Ishmael's 4,000-year-old hatred of his half-brother Isaac, the forefather of the Israelites. I pray that somehow this message will get through to President Bush and Secretary Rice. This prophecy applies to this very moment in which we live. And in light of what they are forcing on Israel, it applies to them personally. While Bush and Rice strive to create legacies for themselves, just as most presidents have tried to do with the Middle East conflict for the last 40 years, they not only endanger themselves, but also endanger this nation with the divine curse promised above. Mr. President, there is nothing on this earth worth what you are doing. In the power of God's Spirit, I warn them both, "Stop, before it's too late!"
Putin Refuses to Support Tougher Sanctions Against Iran
Oct. 19….(Israel Insider) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to support tougher sanctions against Iran in an effort to prevent the Islamic republic from becoming nuclear. Olmert stressed that Russia could play a positive role in the region, but only by "giving due weight to Israel's security interests," the Jerusalem Post reported. Olmert called the last minute meeting with Russia's president following a government assessment that determined a "significant retreat in Russia's position on continued diplomatic activity to impose sanctions on Iran via the Security Council." At the meeting, Putin said he was willing to share the details of his recent visit to Teheran. "We know how the situation surrounding the Iranian nuclear program worries you," Putin said as he greeted Olmert at the Kremlin, according to the AFP. "I am ready to share the results of my visit to Tehran with you." Olmert briefed Putin on Israel's intelligence on Iran's nuclear ambitions and progress, and underscored the importance to halt Iran's nuclear efforts. However the Russian president refused to support further sanctions against Iran. The prime minister's office nonetheless said Olmert was satisfied with the outcome of the meeting. "Russian President Vladimir Putin exhibited great understanding of the Israeli position regarding all matters on the agenda, especially with the Iranian issue," an official said after the talks. Former National Security chief Major General Giora Eiland said that Israel perhaps should have taken a different approach in seeking Russian support for tougher sanctions against Iran.
President Bush Warns of WWIII if Iran goes Nuclear
(Stern message comes as Russia expresses skepticism over Tehran's ambitions)
Oct. 18….(MSN) President Bush warned on Wednesday a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to World War III as he tried to shore up international opposition to Tehran amid Russian skepticism over its nuclear ambitions. Bush was speaking a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has resisted Western pressure to toughen his stance over Iran’s nuclear program, made clear on a visit to Tehran that Russia would not accept any military action against Iran, and warned the US against any such attacks. At a White House news conference, President Bush expressed hope Putin would brief him on his talks in Tehran and said he would ask him to clarify recent remarks on Iran’s nuclear activities. Putin said last week that Russia, which is building Iran’s first atomic power plant, would “proceed from the position,” that Tehran had no plans to develop nuclear weapons but he shared international concerns that its nuclear programs “should be as transparent as possible.” “The thing I’m interested in is whether or not he continues to harbor the same concerns that I do,” Bush said. “When we were in Australia (in September), he reconfirmed to me that he recognizes it’s not in the world’s interest for Iran to have the capacity to make a nuclear weapon.” Bush, who has insisted he wants a diplomatic solution to the Iranian issue, is pushing for a third round of UN sanctions against Iran. Russia, a veto-holding member of the Security Council, backed two sets of limited UN sanctions against Iran but has resisted any tough new measures. Stepping up his rhetoric, President Bush said a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a “dangerous threat to world peace.” “We’ve got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel,” he said. “So I’ve told people that, if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”
Israel Warns World War III May be Biblical War of Gog and Magog
Oct. 18….(IsraelNN.com) US President George W. Bush said a nuclear Iran would mean World War III. Israeli newscasts featured Gog & Magog maps of the likely alignment of nations in that potential conflict. Channel 2 and Channel 10 TV showed the world map, sketching the basic alignment of the two opposing axes in a coming world war, in a manner evoking associations of the Gog and Magog prophecy for many viewers. The prophecy of Gog and Magog refers to a great world war centered on the Holy Land and Jerusalem and first appears in the book of Yechezkel (Ezekiel). On one side were Israel, the United States, Britain, France and Germany. On the other were Iran, Russia, China, Syria and North Korea. US President Bush said Wednesday during a press conference that Iran attaining nuclear weapons raises the risk of "World War III." "If Iran had a nuclear weapon, it'd be a dangerous threat to world peace," Bush said. "So I told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing a nuclear Iran. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously.” Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Iran Tuesday and slammed the US’s refusal to rule out the use of force against Iran’s nuclear project. Russia has continuously blocked tougher UN sanctions in the UN Security Council, where it has veto power. The Russian president asserts that there is no evidence Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons rather than a peaceful nuclear power program.
Putin: Russia Working on New Nuclear Weapons
Oct. 18….(YNET) Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he believes a direct dialogue, rather than continuing Western sanctions, would be more effective in solving the crisis revolving around Iran’s nuclear program. Putin addressed the question in an annual event held in Moscow, the sixth of its kind so far, where he customarily answers the Russian people's questions regarding matters of State. "A direct dialogue with the countries we have disagreements with is always a better, more effective way, to deal with differences than threatening sanctions, or use of force," said Putin. Earlier Thursday, Iranian President Ahmadinejad denied reports claiming Putin and he discussed the Iranian nuclear program. Putin, said the Iranian president, "offered nothing but friendship and cooperation." When asked of his opinions on US moves in Iraq, Putin suggested that the US military campaign in Iraq had turned into a campaign against the Iraqi people. Putin was also asked whether or not he thought the US was eyeing Russia's resources: "I know that some politicians play with such ideas in their heads. This, in my view, is such political erotica that might satisfy a person but hardly leads to a positive result," said Putin. "Russia, thank God, isn't Iraq," he added. "It has enough strength and power to defend itself and its interests, both on its territory and in other parts of the world." Russia, said Putin, was working on new types of nuclear weapons: "We will develop missile technology including completely new strategic nuclear complexes, work which is continuing and continuing successfully."
Olmert Headed to Discuss Iranian Nukes in Moscow
Oct. 18….(YNET) Israeli Prime minister Ehud Olmert is set to leave for Moscow on today to meet with Russian President Vladmir Putin for discussions on Iran's nuclear program. Olmert will meet with Putin a day after the Russian leader returned from a visit to Iran, where he discussed future plans for Iranian-Russian nuclear cooperation with Iranian President mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Olmert decided to make the visit only on Tuesday and preparations for the meeting were made the following day. The main topic of discussion will be Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Israel is also unhappy that Russia supplies Syria with weapons because most major terror groups including Hamas have their headquarters in the Syrian capital. Russian-made weapons have also made their way into the hands of Hizbullah. Relations between Olmert and Putin have been warm on the whole despite disagreements over certain issues. Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned Olmert on Wednesday evening and asked him to tell the Russian president that "in Israel we are all united in believing that Iran must not obtain a nuclear weapon. "There is no coalition or opposition over this issue in Israel," Netanyahu said. Prime Minister Olmert is said to enter the Kremlin today with an unequivocal message to the Russian President: Under circumstances whereby Iran possesses a nuclear weapon, while Russia supplies Syria with advanced weaponry, Israel will be forced to weigh its options vis-à-vis such threats. The issues of key concern to the prime minister that are expected to be raised at the meeting in Moscow, primarily pertain to Russia's involvement in building Iran's nuclear project. Senior Russian officials are trying to convince their Israeli counterparts that the Iranian nuclear project is under tight Russian control. Vladimir Putin even announced in the past that nuclear weapons in Iranian hands would also endanger his own country and he hinted to Ehud Olmert that Russia would not supply Iran oil that would enable it to manufacture such weapons. Moreover, Putin has often reiterated that he has a special commitment towards more than a million immigrants who came to Israel from the former USSR, and would not do anything to put them in harm's way. Israel, Olmert is expected to tell Putin will not accept possession of atomic weapons in Iranian hands, and would weigh all options to eliminate such a threat. It may be assumed that Putin will tell Olmert of his impressions of the meeting he held this week with the Iranian leadership in Tehran. Yet there is no point in expecting that the Russian President will relay any messages from Ahmadinejad to Olmert, since the abyss between Israel and Iran at this stage cannot be bridged. Another area of concern to Olmert is the new arms deals Russia is about to engage in with Syria, and which are financed by Iran. Among other things Putin intends to provide Assad with ground-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft missiles that to date he has not sold to any other country. In an attempt to make Russia aware of the dangerous implication of these arms deals, in recent months Israel presented to the Kremlin evidence that Russian weapons sold to Syria had been transferred to Hizbullah. During the two hours Putin has allocated to the meeting, Olmert also plans to express his objection to Russia's attempt to mediate between the Fatah and Hamas factions with the aim of forming a unity government. The visit to Moscow was coordinated eight days ago in a telephone conversation between Olmert and Putin. The two leaders agreed to meet after Putin returns from his historic visit to Tehran – the first such visit by a Russian leader since 1943. The prime minister speaks to the Russian president at least once a month by phone and attributes great importance to the intimate dialog which he believes he has succeeded in creating with Putin. The Russian president is making an effort to show the world that Russia is a super-power, equal to the US; there is barely an international issue where Putin does not demonstrate an independent approach, primarily one that is defiant of the American stance. "Russia is a key player in the global arena," said a senior source close to the prime minister. "Hence engaging in dialog is of the utmost importance." The open dialog between Israel's and Russia's leaders is not obvious: Just 20 years ago any random encounter between an Israeli and Russian official in the UN corridors in New York generated giant headlines. In Israel there is hope that the close ties that currently prevail between the two countries will allow Olmert to convince Putin to consider Israel's fear of an existential threat posed by a nuclear Iran.
Putin Invites Iran’s
Ahmadinejad for Moscow Talks
(“Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard (strongs 4929)unto them.” Ezekiel 38:7) (“Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:” Ezekiel 38:5)
The invitation followed a meeting between Putin and Ahmadinejad, who is fighting calls from Western powers to stop nuclear work that Washington says is aimed at building atomic bombs. Tehran says its intentions are peaceful. “Ahmadinejad accepted the invitation with gratitude. The parties agreed to clear the dates for the visit through diplomatic channels,” Interfax quoted the two leaders as saying in a joint statement. Putin also agreed to bring Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant into operation on schedule following talks in Tehran. “The Bushehr nuclear power plant will be constructed and brought into operation in line with the agreed upon schedule,” the statement said. “The parties reaffirmed that it will continue to be pursued strictly in line with their commitments under the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.”
On PA TV, All of Israel to be Replaced by 'Palestine'
Oct. 18….(IsraelNN.com) Even as Palestinian Authority
chief Mahmoud Abbas declares his demand for "only" all 6,205 kilometers of
Judea, Samaria and Gaza, his official TV station shows a PA flag covering all of
Israel. Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a media watchdog group that monitors the
media in the Palestinian Authority, reports on a clip broadcast by Fatah-controlled
Palestinian television this week. The clip shows a map in which Israel, in its
entirety, is painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag, black, white, red
and green. The message is that the PA strives to replace all of Israel, and not
just Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Jewish Families in Iran Advised to Leave the Country Without Delay
Oct. 18….(DEBKA) The letters, according to DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources, have been posted to Jewish families in Tehran (where the community numbers some 13,000), Isfahan (under 2,000) and Shiraz (some 4,000). They are captioned: Danger! Danger! Danger! and tell recipients to try and reach the West with all possible speed. Iranian Jews like the rest of the population face grave danger from impending events, the anonymous writers warn. President George W. Bush spoke of World War Three if Iran which seeks to destroy Israel gains a nuclear bomb. He said those who helped the Islamic Republic would be held responsible, a broad hint at Russia and China. The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s sudden trip to Moscow Thursday, Oct. 18, for one day there and back, and the two hours President Vladimir Putin has allotted for their conversation, tie in with these events. DEBKAfile’s sources report that the meeting was requested by Olmert after he conferred with US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice on the last day of her Middle East shuttle, and with Washington. The prime minister is seeking Putin’s assurance that Russia will not complete construction of Iran’s nuclear reactor at Bushehr or supply the fuel for its activation. Sources in Washington and Jerusalem decided to strike while the iron is hot, namely straight after Putin’s return from Tehran and before his final commitment to Tehran, in the hope of gaining his personal pledge to leave the reactor unfinished. This would be an important obstacle to Iran’s nuclear plans. But our sources in Moscow judge these calculations are unrealistic. If Putin did not show his cards to the Iranian leaders in Tehran, they say, there is no chance of him giving Olmert any commitments. The Russian president is playing the world leader to the hilt. He will emphasize to the Israeli prime minister that Moscow has its own interests in the Middle East, just like the US and Israel. The letters posted to Iranian Jews, were postmarked from different towns in America and Europe and from private addresses so as not to raise the suspicions of Iranian security services. All the same, some were discovered and confiscated, prompting Tehran to accuse Israel and world Zionist organizations of a campaign to scare its Jewish citizens. In recent months, Iranian officials angrily held up a new Israeli offer of a one-time grant of $10,000 for every Iranian Jew migrating to Israel, over and above the regular grants for other immigrants. Learning of these incentives, the Iranian authorities not long ago ordered the Jewish deputy in the Majlis, Mauris Mo’tamed, to declare that the Jews of Iran cannot be bought for money and would never forsake their country.
Pat Robertson says Dividing Jerusalem Risks God's Wrath
Oct. 18….(Examiner) Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson said Monday that the United States will risk God's wrath if it forces Israel to surrender part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. "He that touches Jerusalem touches the apple of God's eye," Robertson said on "The 700 Club," the daily religious news-and-talk television program he hosts from his Christian Broadcasting Network. "And if we decide we're going to wrest East Jerusalem away from the Jews and give it over to the Palestinians, we're risking the wrath of God on this nation, and I think it's very dangerous," Robertson said. Robertson made the remarks after watching a CBN news segment about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's meeting Monday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Rice said the creation of a Palestinian state is a top U.S. interest. Also Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert hinted that he is ready to share control of Jerusalem, saying for the first time that Israel could do without controlling some of the holy city's outlying Arab neighborhoods.
Bush Warns of World War III if Iran goes Nuclear
Oct. 18….(Breitbart) US President George W. Bush said Wednesday that he had warned world leaders they must prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons "if you're interested in avoiding World War III." "We've got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel," Bush said at a White House press conference after Russia cautioned against military action against Tehran's suspect atomic program. "So I've told people that, if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," said Bush.
Mideast Summit Likely to be Postponed
Oct. 18….(IsraelNN.com) Four days of shuttle diplomacy between Jerusalem, Ramallah and Cairo has apparently convinced US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that it would be wise to postpone the much publicized upcoming Mideast summit, originally scheduled to be held November 26 in Annapolis. Rice told reporters after meeting Wednesday with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni that she would “continue to say that the summit will be held in the fall,” but that “there are two months in the fall, November and December.” No new date was given for the conference. The Secretary of State acknowledged that the obstacles to reaching any form of agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are daunting, a fact echoed by every leader in the region. US State Department officials expressed equally pessimistic predictions Monday after Rice had met separately with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas said bluntly in a news conference Wednesday that the summit would be a waste of time, that would be “in no one’s interests” if Israel came unprepared to agree to hand over Judea, Samaria, Gaza and half of Jerusalem, to be established as the capital of a new PA state. He added that he and other PA officials “are not interested in participating in a conference that will not bear fruit.” Most of the region’s leaders have informed the Bush administration that little is likely to be accomplished at the summit other than more posturing, seeing as the Israeli and PA positions are still poles apart on most issues. Prime Minister Olmert has made numerous concessions and "goodwill gestures" to the PA in order to prop up Abbas’s government in the past few months, with little to show for it. Hundreds of thousands of shekels in tax monies collected on behalf of the PA, withheld after the Hamas terrorist organization took control of the government in 2006, were transferred to the Abbas government months ago as an initial gesture. Despite promises that none of the funds would be used to pay Hamas, money nonetheless found its way to Hamas employees’ pockets. Relaxation of security measures at IDF checkpoints around the country were met with claims of “not good enough.” The release of hundreds of PA terrorists being held in Israeli jails was met with similar contempt. Amnesty for hundreds more terrorists who were still at large, on condition they signed a document promising not to take up arms and return to their violent ways was also minimized. Many of those who were pardoned did not bother to fulfill their end of the deal and skipped the signatures and the commitment. Several of those have since been caught planning and attempting to carry out more terrorist attacks. Promises by Abbas to crack down on terrorism emanating from PA-controlled areas were only partially kept: while Abbas’s security forces allegedly did make an effort to reduce terrorism from Fatah-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria, they had lukewarm success. But the commitments made by Abbas were broken repeatedly by Fatah-sponsored terrorists from the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades organization who were caught attempting to carry out attacks against Israeli civilians. The lack of Abbas’s ability or willingness to match Israel’s largesse in security risks taken in the hopes of making progress in talks has slowed down the Olmert government’s race toward the negotiation table, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by the US and others.
Syria Admits that Israeli Air Strike Targeted Nuclear Facilities
Oct. 17….(YNET) Syria's ambassador to the United Nations confirmed on Tuesday that Israel's air strike on September 6 in northern Syria did indeed target a nuclear site, marking the first time the country has acknowledged its nuclear efforts. Syrian official Bashar al-Jaafari also said that "Israel was the fourth largest exporter of weapons of mass destruction and a violator of other nations' airspace, and it had taken action against Syria’s nuclear facilities. Until Tuesday, Syria had insisted that the IAF targeted an agricultural research facility and missed its objective, going so far as to invite foreign journalists to the site to substantiate its claims. Syrian President Bashar Assad claimed in a BBC interview that the strike hit a building in an abandoned military base, according to the Jerusalem Post. The Israeli government continues to adhere to its vow of silence regarding the air strike, in what analysts speculate is an attempt to avoid embarrassing Syria and possibly igniting a full-scale war. Israel has been careful to prevent an escalation of tensions with Syria since the summer, when there was talk of a possible war erupting between the two countries. However the Jewish state did lift censorship on the issue, now allowing journalists to quote local sources saying that the strike took place. However, any details beyond that the operation took place still must be attributed to foreign sources. US policy makers are divided over whether to take Syria's nuclear efforts into consideration (before the UN) when determining its foreign policy toward Syria and North Korea, which reportedly aided Syria in developing its nascent nuclear facility. It is yet unclear why Syria changed its policy of publicly denying the existence of its nuclear facilities.
Muslim Brotherhood Advocates An Islamic Republic
Distress of Nations
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity the sea and the waves roaring;” Luke 21:25
“And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” Genesis 16:12
Oct. 17….(In The News) For the first time, the Muslim Brotherhood has released a draft document outlining a detailed political platform. The blueprint reveals the radical nature of the group and its goal of establishing an Islamic state in Egypt reminiscent of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s highly popular though officially banned Islamic fundamentalist group, has transformed its image in recent years from known terrorist organization to legitimate political group. It has increasingly presented itself as a reform movement. Secular pro-democracy advocates had held hopes that in the process the group would become more moderate. However, the hard-line draft political platform released last month, the Brotherhood’s most concrete policy paper to date, dashes those hopes. Not only does it forbid Christians and women from holding the presidential office, but it also establishes a board of Muslim clerics to oversee the government. “It establishes a religious state,” said Abdel Moneim Said, head of the leading Al Ahram Center for Strategic and Political Studies. “It’s an assassination to the civic state.” “The proposed commission recalls the system in Iran, where clerical councils have final say on a wide range of political issues and can even vet candidates running for president and parliament,” the Associated Press reported (October 11). Though the Brotherhood has been banned from government since 1954, it has gained a strong foothold in parliament by fielding its members as independents. In 2005 elections, Brotherhood members captured a fifth of parliamentary seats. Just as democracy has facilitated the rise of Hamas, Hezbollah and other organizations rooted in terrorism, so has it opened doors for the Muslim Brotherhood. Domestic dissatisfaction with the autocratic rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, together with a general push by the United States for democratic reform in the Middle East, has enabled Muslim Brotherhood members to become the largest opposition group in Egyptian politics. Bahy Eldin Hassan, head of the Cairo Center for Human Rights, said the new platform shows the Brotherhood has added “vocabularies of democracy and human rights (to their rhetoric). But the content remains the same as the old generations.” Still, as discontent with the political system in Egypt increases, the Islamists are increasingly being seen as a favorable alternative. This, together with Mubarak’s ailing health, means Egypt is being primed for political upheaval. As the Brotherhood grows more powerful, watch for it to seek to align Cairo more closely with Tehran, a prospect that is in line with end-time biblical prophecies.
Rice Cancels Second Ramallah Visit Summit Mission goes into Crisis
Oct. 17….(DEBKA) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been shuttling all week between Israel and the Palestinians, with a stopover in Cairo, in a bid to forge a joint document substantial enough to convene a Middle East conference in Maryland before the end of 2007. She was warned by all the officials she encountered that no starting point for final-status negotiations on a Palestinian State, or agreed upon document was within reach. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Middle East Special Envoy Tony Blair and US diplomatic and military envoys working with the Palestinian Authority. The horizon for fulfilling the Bush vision of a two-state solution proved to be as distant as ever. There was general agreement on all sides, according to DEBKAfile’s political sources, that Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad are incapable of solidifying their grip on power or combating Palestinian terror, as required by the Middle East road map. The US Secretary also discovered that, notwithstanding his denials, Abbas is conducting secret indirect contacts with Hamas. Whatever the outcome of the Annapolis conference, if it goes ahead, he is determined to lead his Fatah party into negotiations with Hamas for a united national government and reconstruct the Gaza-West Bank link which was severed in June when Hamas drove the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority out of the Gaza Strip. DEBKAfile’s Jerusalem sources report that top Israeli government levels and visiting US officials are deeply anxious lest the secretary of state’s decisions in the light of her setback generate a serious crisis in relations between the Bush administration and the Israeli government. Sources familiar with the US Secretary’s schedule believe that in the next few hours she must decide how to present the outcome of her mission to President Bush. They see three options:
1. She can advise the president to postpone the international peace conference in Annapolis to a later date.
2. Or cancel the event in view mainly of the unwillingness of Arab rulers to put in an appearance in any circumstances. Washington will then have to decide whom to blame for the fiasco.
3. Rice may propose an American-authored document for presentation to the conference. This would be tantamount to imposing a settlement on Israel and the Palestinians, and be bound to produce a clash between the Bush administration and the Olmert government over the radical Israeli concessions required for bringing the Arab parties to the conference
Putin Warns US: Leave Iran Alone
Oct. 16….(FOJ) Iran in essence won a military security pledge from Russia while President Putin was at the Caspian Sea Summit today. President Putin used his historic visit to Iran today to make a case against Western military action and delivered a regional security guarantee for the Islamic republic of Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons. That Russian President Vladimir Putin is hopping mad with America has been obvious for some time now. In a speech in Munich in July, he lambasted the US for what he called, our "unilateral and frequently illegitimate actions," claiming that "the United States has overstepped its national borders in every way" and slamming its "greater and greater disdain" for international law. Last week in Russia, he made the US Secretaries of State and Defense wait 45 minutes for him before delivering them a tongue-lashing over the missile defense plan.
Putin is in essence working internationally as the Iranian nuke enabler and his comradery with Iranian President Ahmadinejad is forged on a strategic interest both nations have in driving the US out of the Middle East entirely. Mr. Putin’s statement that nations shouldn't pursue oil pipeline projects in the Caspian Sea area if they weren't backed by regional powers is a direct threat against the US. At the summit of the five nations that border the inland Caspian Sea, Putin said none of the nations' territory should be used by any outside countries for use of military force against any nation in the region. It was a clear reference to long-standing rumors that the US was planning to use Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, as a staging ground for any possible military action against Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also underlined the need to keep outsiders away from the Caspian Sea oil-rich basin. Mr. Putin's meeting with Ahmadinejad would be important for Iran even if it yielded no security agreements for its serves to give Iran a break from international isolation and sanction problems. By Russia issuing a warning to the US against interfering with Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Iran can now use the visit to lobby for getting the nuclear dossier out of the UN Security Council and Russia can strengthen its opposition to the US through boosting ties with Tehran.
Off We Go Again, to Process Peace
Oct. 16….(JWR) One of these days an attempt to make lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians will succeed, but it might be on the day after that roomful of monkeys with typewriters finish the manuscript of "War and Peace." Condoleezza Rice is in Jerusalem this morning, trying to "spark the region" with the news that the United States will set up an international peace conference next month in Annapolis. It's all about a legacy for George W. Bush. Organizing a Palestinian state is essential, she said, and it has the highest Bush priority. "Frankly, it's time for the establishment of a Palestinian state," the secretary of state told reporters after four hours with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinians, now without a state. "The United States sees the establishment of a Palestinian state, a two-state solution, as absolutely essential to the future, not just for the Palestinians and Israelis, but also the Middle East and indeed for American interests." The dilemma, diplomatically unspoken, is that the Palestinians, and their regional enablers, don't actually want a two-state solution. They want a one-state solution, and if they stall, delay and dodge long enough, the rest of the world will grow weary with intransigence and tell the Israelis to shut up already and let the barbarians, who send women and children to blow themselves up along with whoever may be unlucky enough to be standing nearby, take it all. Civilized men and women, both of the West and of whoever among the Palestinians who yearn for something better than they have, must keep trying. We can hope, as Miss Rice predicts, that there's "going to be a serious and substantive conference that will advance the cause of the establishment of a Palestinian state. We frankly have better things to do than invite people to Annapolis for a photo op." But the rest of us are entitled to think that a photo op, with the pols standing around looking for a cucumber sandwich and trying to look useful, is all that Miss Rice will accomplish in Annapolis. Negotiators for both Israel and the Palestinians already disagree on what they want to talk about, much like the famous argument between Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho about the shape of the table at those long-ago "peace" talks to strike an end to the Vietnam War. The parties finally agreed on the table and an agreement that enabled Mr. Kissinger and Le Duc Tho to fly to Oslo to pick up their Nobel Peace Prizes. Then the Communists took South Vietnam. (Nobel laureates get to keep their peace prizes; there is no money-back guarantee.) But Israel can't afford to make sucker deals. The Palestinians want a detailed laundry list of goodies, with delivery dates carved in a hard wood if not in stone, and iron-clad solutions to "core issues," agreed on now. The Israelis want a measured approach, with what the diplomats call "confidence-building steps" before anyone carves anything in wood or stone. The laundry list, agreed on now, would give the game to the Palestinians. They could behave as they have in the past, stalling, delaying and dodging, confident that the rest of the world will blame the Jews for the Palestinians not living up to the bargain. Who can blame the Israelis for smelling a mouse, if not a rat? Condi Rice first told the reporters yesterday that there won't be an attempt to solve everything in Annapolis, "but it does need to be a serious and substantive and concrete document that demonstrates there is a way forward." She later "clarified" her remarks. She did not mean that the Annapolis conference should give the Palestinians everything they want. Mr. Abbas emerged from his talkathon with Miss Rice with a list of what the Palestinians want in exchange for a promise to quit killing Jews: restored borders, settled refugees and a piece of East Jerusalem, which would become the capital of the Palestinian state. That's a lot to ask from a man who doesn't believe in Christmas and Santa Claus
Turkey Forms Alliance With Iran Against Kurds
Oct. 16….(Ken Timmerman) US ally Turkey and US arch-enemy Iran have formed a military alliance to drive opposition Kurds from bases in northern Iraq they have used since 2004 to launch guerrilla operations inside Iran, rebel leaders told Newsmax at a secret base in the Qandil mountains. Both Iran and Turkey have vowed to send troops into northern Iraq, but until now evidence of active military cooperation between them has remained a closely-held secret. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stepped up political and diplomatic threats in recent days, telling the United States he would cut off US access to the strategic Incirlik airbase in eastern Turkey if the US tried to prevent Turkey from sending troops against the Kurdish bases in northern Iraq. Leaders of the Party of Free Life of Iranian Kurdestan, known as PJAK, provided Newsmax with extensive evidence of the Iran-Turkey alliance in two days of exclusive interviews at a secret guerilla base deep in the Qandil mountains. An Iranian Revolutionary Guards outpost was visible on a nearby mountain peak. “Iran and Turkey attacked jointly on August 16 against our forces inside Iran and against Turkish self-defense forces in northern Iraq,” a PJAK commander using the nom de guerre Xerat told Newsmax at the Iranian rebel base. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards “attacked us across a broad front in the areas of Sardasht, Piranshahr, Shaho, Urmieh, and along the border line,” Xerat said, citing the names of major cities in Iranian Kurdestan where PJAK rebels have been operating. While those ground operations were underway, Iranian and Turkish artillery simultaneously began shelling civilian villages inside Iraqi Kurdistan from Metina, Zaab, Haftani, and Hakurke in the north, to Haji Oumran, Qalatdizza, Zeh, Marado, and Xinera in the south, he added. Turkish artillery hit the northern villages, while Iranian gunners hit the southern ones. Iranian troops attempted to cross into Iraq through the mountain passes, but PJAK fighters held the line. “The goal of the Iranians is to drive us from the border area,” Kurdish rebel leader Biryar Gabar told Newsmax. “They want to turn this area into a no-man’s land, so they can use it to smuggle weapons and Islamist guerillas into Iraq to fight the Americans.” He called the Iran-Turkey entente “an anti-American alliance,” not just an anti-Kurdish agreement, and said that it resulted from deliberate decisions from the ruling Islamist AKP party of Prime Minister Erdogan to transform Turkey into an increasingly Islamist state. A senior European official, who was involved in talks to bring Turkey into the European Union, told Newsmax recently he had been “stunned” by the hard-line toward the Kurds taken by AKP party leader Abdullah Gul, now Turkey’s president. “He was totally uncompromising,” the official said. “He took a harder line than the Turkish military.” Iran has been offering Turkey an economic agreement with Iran in July to build a strategic pipeline that will bring Iranian natural gas to Europe, in defiance of a US led effort to increase the economic squeeze on Iran.
Turkey Has Rising Nuclear Ambitions Too
Oct. 16….(FOJ) As Turkey joins with Iran in an alliance against the Kurds in Iraq, Turkey is also following Iran on another path. Turkey is also beginning its nuclear energy ambitions (and possibly nuclear weapons) in the face of predicted energy shortfalls and a perceived threat from Iran about internal safety, security and a regional arms race. Turkey’s announcement to go nuclear was one of the government priorities outlined in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's address to Turkish parliament following his election victory in July. By 2015, Turkey plans to build two nuclear power stations, with further plants expected to follow. Turkey is becoming increasingly energy hungry, and there are predictions that the country could face an energy shortfall soon, with industry already complaining of power cuts. Energy Minister Guler explained to the parliamentary energy commission recently that nuclear power would become an integral part of meeting that shortfall. "We are establishing Turkey's energy balance on five main pillars, which are coal, natural gas, water, renewable energy and nuclear energy." Turkey has limited fossil fuel reserves. It produces only 50,000 barrels a day but consumes over 700,000, while its coal reserves are of poor quality. Turkey is heavily dependent on imported oil and gas primarily from Russia and Azerbaijan. (the lone Caspian country that Russia is trying dissect from the American sphere of influence) Last winter, it suffered an acute energy shortage because of a dispute between Russia and Ukraine over gas supplies. A key pipeline passes through Ukraine to Turkey, and from Turkey to Europe. Turkey has become crucial in terms of being a major entry point to developing nuclear power in this region, and to regional exports of Caspian Sea oil.
The Iran nuclear variable involves Turkeys Movement Between East and West
The announcement of the country's nuclear energy plans coincides with a deepening concern over neighboring Iran's own nuclear program. "There exists between the two countries a certain parity, militarily, economically, socially, politically, and most experst on nuclear weapons proliferation believe that if or when Iran develops nuclear weapons it will tip the balance in favor of Iran if Turkey does not either develop a nuclear program or find common ground with the Iran theatre Such a change in the balance of power could have profound regional implications for Turkey's strategic interests, particularly as Russia positions itself as the “great protector” of Iran. In the past 300 years, Iran and Turkey have not fought a major war. This is because of the parity that has existed for so long. Therefore, if the balance is tipped in favor of Iran, the Iranian leadership may feel compelled to advance its policies, which may run counter to Turkey's interests." Such concerns are shared within Turkey's powerful military circles, who don’t want to see regional control by Iran. Iran's nuclear aspirations could even pose a direct threat to Turkey, and Turkey has been obliged to "prevent this position in advance with the United States and the United Nations. But if the US and Europe allows Iran to get nuclear weapons, then, "Turkey will needs nuclear weapons too. Turkey is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty. Back in the 70s and 80s it was US concerns about Turkey's possible intentions which prevented Turkey from developing these capabilities, and now Turkey is watching the US position closely on Iran. If the US backs down on Iran, (as Russia is hoping) then Turkey may choose to join the Russian-led sphere of power instead of staying with the American sphere.
Russia, Iran Warn Against Foreign Meddling
(Putin attending crucial nuclear and oil talks at Caspian Sea summit in Teheran)
Oct. 16….(MSNBC) Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Tehran on Tuesday for a historic visit to hold talks on Iran's nuclear program and attend a Caspian Sea summit. The visit, the first by a Kremlin leader since World War II, is taking place despite warnings of a possible assassination plot and amid hopes that a round of personal diplomacy could help offer a solution to an international standoff on Iran's nuclear program. The two leaders of Russia and Iran spoke out strongly Tuesday against outside interference into Caspian Sea affairs during a summit that focused on ways to divide the region's substantial energy resources. Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose trip to Tehran is the first by a Kremlin leader since World War II, warned that energy pipeline projects crossing the Caspian Sea could only be implemented if all five nations that border the inland sea support them. Putin did not name any specific country, but his statement underlined Moscow's strong opposition to US-backed efforts to build pipelines to deliver hydrocarbons to the West bypassing Russia. Projects that may inflict serious environmental damage to the region cannot be implemented without prior discussion by all five Caspian nations," he said. Other countries bordering the Caspian Sea and in attendance at the summit are: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. Putin also emphasized the need for all Caspian nations to prohibit the use of their territory by any outside countries for use of military force against any nation in the region, a clear reference to long-standing rumors that the United States was planning to use Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, as a staging ground for any possible military action against Iran. "We are saying that no Caspian nation should offer its territory to third powers for use of force or military aggression against any Caspian state," Putin said. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also underlined the need to keep outsiders away from the Caspian. "All Caspian nations agree on the main issue, that all aspects related to this sea must be settled exclusively by littoral nations," he said.
"The Caspian Sea is an inland sea and it only belongs to the Caspian states, therefore only they are entitled to have their ships and military forces here." The legal status of the Caspian, believed to contain the world's third-largest energy reserves, has been in limbo since the 1991 Soviet collapse, leading to tension and conflicting claims to seabed oil deposits. Iran, which shared the Caspian's resources equally with the Soviet Union, insists that each coastal nation receive an equal portion of the seabed. Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan want the division based on the length of each nation's shoreline, which would give Iran a smaller share. Putin has warned the United States and other nations against trying to coerce Iran into reining in its nuclear program and insists peaceful dialogue is the only way to deal with Tehran's defiance of a UN Security Council demand that it suspend uranium enrichment. "Threatening someone, in this case the Iranian leadership and Iranian people will lead nowhere," Putin said Monday during his trip to Germany. "They are not afraid, believe me.” The Russian president underlined his disagreements with Washington last week, saying he saw no "objective data" to prove Western claims that Iran is trying to construct nuclear weapons. While in Teheran, Putin is scheduled for meetings with Ahmadinejad and the Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. While the Kremlin has shielded Tehran from a United States push for a third round of UN sanctions, Iran has voiced annoyance about Moscow's foot-dragging in building a nuclear power plant in the southern port of Bushehr under a $1 billion contract. Russia warned early this year that the plant would not be launched this fall as planned because Iran was slow in making payments. Iranian officials have angrily denied any payment arrears and accused the Kremlin of caving in to Western pressure.
Ban on 'Mom' and 'Dad' Sparks call for Exodus From California Schools
('Public school districts no longer are safe environment for children')
(Oct. 16….(WND) A call is being issued to Christians who have been engaged in the culture wars in California's schools to abandon the system, after Governor Schwarznegger signed into law a ban on "discriminatory bias" against homosexuals and others with alternative sexual lifestyles. "We're calling upon every California parent to pull their child out of California's public school system," Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families told WND. "The so-called 'public schools' are no longer a safe emotional environment for children. Under the new law, schoolchildren as young as kindergarten will be sexually indoctrinated and introduced to homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality, over the protests of parents, teachers and even school districts," he said. The law at issue went through the California legislature as SB 777, and now bans in school texts and activities any discriminatory bias against those who have chosen alternative sexual lifestyles. There are no similar protections for students with traditional Christian or conservative lifestyles and beliefs, however. Offenders will face the wrath of the state Department of Education, up to and including lawsuits. "SB 777 will result in reverse discrimination against students with religious and traditional family values. These students have lost their voice as the direct result of Gov. Schwarzenegger's unbelievable decision. The terms 'mom and dad' or 'husband and wife' could promote discrimination against homosexuals if a same-sex couple is not also featured. "Parents want the assurance that when their children go to school they will learn the fundamentals of reading, writing and arithmetic, not social indoctrination regarding alternative sexual lifestyles. "Referring to 'moms' and 'dads' promotes a discriminatory bias against gays and lesbians said one legislator. You have to either get rid of 'mom' and 'dad' or include everything when talking about parental issues," she said. "The promoters of sexual alternative lifestyles consider moms and dads discriminatory." "Private schools and homeschool will be the only sanctuary left for parents in California who love their children and want to protect their sexual innocence.
Ray Moore, a spokesman for Exodus Mandat which advocates Christians give up on public schools and either school their children at home or send them to Christian schools, said, "This really is a call to conservative and Christian pro-family groups to give up this absurd idea of public school reform," he told WND. "It can't be done. The longer they talk about saving public schools, the longer they prolong this agony, when they could be setting up new schools." He said such plans to indoctrinate children in sexual alternatives is not a surprise at all. "The pagans are simply obeying their god," he said. But he said how Christians educate their children is part of their walk of faith and obedience to God. "You are being irresponsible as a parent to put your child in a public school," Moore said. "There's no stopping this movement. I think they're going to take over the entire system in the next two to five years. "I can't predict how fast the virus will run throughout the public school system, but I think it cannot be stopped," he said. "If traditional minded people abandon that system in enough numbers, it will implode. By leaving your children there as a Christian you're exposing them to extreme moral danger. You can't immunize them with a few hours of Bible study during the week," he said. And he warned that the rest of the nation could feel the impact of the decision, because California is known as a trend-setter in educational practice and policy.
Rice: Israel Must Leave Eastern Jerusalem (Old Jerusalem) to the Palestinians
(Says she'll push Israel to divide capital, blame Olmert if he doesn't comply)
Oct. 16….(WND) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in the region to prepare for an Israeli-Palestinian summit next month, told Palestinian officials yesterday she would pressure Israel against initiating any Jewish construction in eastern sections of Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian negotiator involved in talks with Rice told WND. The Palestinian negotiator stated Rice singled out eastern Jerusalem areas as becoming part of a future Palestinian state and told his negotiating team she would publicly blame Israel for the failure of next month's US-sponsored summit slated to be held in Maryland if the Jewish state didn't agree to evacuate eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods. According to proposed summit peace plans, "There will be special sovereignty over the holy sites, taking into account Israel's unique interests in overseeing them. Within this framework, the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter and other holy sites in the Jerusalem vicinity will remain under Israeli rule forever." The fate of the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site is still unknown. Secretary Rice arrived in the region yesterday reportedly to help the Israeli and Palestinian sides formulate a joint statement ahead of November's conference. Palestinian leaders want the statement to specifically outline a Palestinian state including the Gaza Strip, West Bank and parts of east Jerusalem, while Olmert officials have been quoted in recent days stating they prefer more vague commitments. According to senior Palestinian negotiators, Olmert's team expressed willingness multiple times to divide Jerusalem and place the Temple Mount under pan-Arab control. WND reported in August about a plan wherein Olmert presented the Palestinians a formal plan in which the Jewish state would forfeit the Temple Mount to Muslim control under the joint management of Egypt, Jordan and the PA. The sources said Olmert's plan called for the entire Temple Mount plaza to fall under Arab sovereignty; Jerusalem's Old City holy sites near the Mount to be governed by a Jewish, Christian and Muslim task force; and the Western Wall plaza below the Mount to be controlled by Israel.
Iran's Khamenei Urges Muslim Countries to Boycott Mideast Peace Conference
Oct. 15….((Xinhua) Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khameneion Saturday urged the Muslim countries to boycott the upcoming Mideast peace conference in the United States, accusing Washington of trying to save Israel and to hurt the Palestinians. "The United States made this meeting initiative in order to save the Zionist (Israel), all the meetings held under the name of peace so far have harmed the Palestinians," Khamenei told a large crowd, in a ceremony to mark the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. "Palestinians see this (conference) as an intrigue, other (Muslim countries) also should see this as an intrigue, if themselves (Palestinians) will not join the meeting, how can the others do so?" he added. In July, U.S. President George W. Bush proposed to hold an international conference this fall, which would bring together Israel, the Palestinians, the Middle East diplomatic Quartet, which includes the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States, and some Arab states to help resume the stalled Middle East peace talks. Bush's administration has said it would invite its adversary Syria to attend the meeting, but Syrian President Bashar al-Assadhas stressed that his country would not go to this planned conference since it lacks the chances of success. The other major Arab countries like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have not made their decisions whether to attend the meeting or not.
President Bush Sends Rice to Israel to Push for Palestinian Statehood
Oct. 15….(FOJ) In a joint news conference with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, US Secretary of State Condoleezza said Monday that US President George W. Bush has decided to make ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict one of the highest priorities of his administration. Rice met Abbas to try to bridge his differences with Israel over the scope of a US-led Mideast peace conference scheduled for next month in Annapolis, Maryland. Frankly, it's time for the establishment of a Palestinian state, she added. Thus, the Bush administration hopes to get as close as possible to establishing a Palestinian state during its remaining months in office, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday at the start of a five-day Middle East shuttle mission. Speaking to reporters en route to Israel, Miss Rice acknowledged "a lot of work" will be necessary before Palestinian statehood, but she promised a 100 percent effort and suggested that the chance for a peace deal has never been better. "You've got the broadest possible Israeli agreement that a Palestinian state is in Israel's interest. I don't think we've ever been there before," she said. "And on that basis, you know, we have an opportunity to try to move this as far forward as we possibly can." The Secretary is trying to help Israelis and Palestinians negotiate a joint statement for a conference next month in Annapolis that is meant to prepare a framework for future negotiations toward a final peace treaty. Administration officials have sought to dampen expectations about the talks after widespread speculation that the Israeli-Palestinian document will contain landmark compromises on the core issues, the status of Jerusalem, the future of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and a right of return for Palestinian refugees. Rice is on her seventhtrip to Israel since the beginning of the year to coerce Israel into placating the Palestinian statehood push. The visits reflect the administration's conviction that any Israeli-Palestinian agreement will require vocal support from Arab regimes allied with the US to help the Palestinian Authority fend off hard-line critics, such as the Islamist militant group Hamas.
Rice: Israel Must Divide Jerusalem
Oct. 15….(In The News) Palestinian officials who met with visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday said they received assurances that the Bush Administration will bring all its weight to bear on Israel to make sure Jerusalem is divided as part of an Israeli-Palestinian final status peace agreement it hopes to oversee at next month's peace summit in Annapolis, Maryland. A senior Palestinian negotiator who took part in the meeting told WorldNetDaily that Rice promised to pressure Israel to halt all Jewish construction in the eastern half of Jerusalem, and to publicly blame Israel for the lack of peace in the region if the upcoming summit breaks down as a result of Israel's failure to surrender the holy city. The government of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has signaled its willingness to turn over Arab-dominated neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority, but the latter is also demanding that Israel uproot large Jewish-dominated neighborhoods there as well. Earlier in the day, Rice got an earful from Israeli leaders who do not see any realistic chance for peace at the planned Annapolis conference. Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Rice that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas remains incapable of exercising security control over large Palestinian cities, and said that Israel could not possibly agree at this time to reduce its military presence in Judea and Samaria, let alone allow full Palestinian sovereignty there. Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai carried a similar message, explaining to Rice that Abbas holds sway over only a portion of Palestinian society, and that making peace with him would not necessarily mean an end to the conflict. Ynet quoted Yishai as saying that even his right-wing religious Shas Party is ready to make "real Israeli concessions. But these concessions must be made when we have a real partner which is capable of controlling its people. This is not the situation now with Abbas." In what was described by The Jerusalem Post as a cordial and warm meeting with Olmert, the American was informed that the current Israeli government views a Palestinian state as a fait accompli, but insisted that Israel would stick to the reciprocal peace steps laid out in the US-authored Road Map peace plan.
WEEK OF OCTOBER 8 THROUGH OCTOBER 14
The Emerging Voice of Moderate Mainstream Islam
(138 of the world's top Muslim leaders, clerics and academics have written an open letter to the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury and other leaders of the Christian world)
Oct. 12….(World News) The Muslim letter to the Pope warns that world peace depends on better dialogue between Christians and Muslims, and points to the fundamental beliefs each have in common. But the real significance of the initiative lies in the creation of a powerful new lobby in world politics. It is certainly not the first time that Christian and Muslim leaders have referred to their shared values and traditions. In the years of tension since 9/11 it has been a frequent accompaniment to inter-faith meetings and projects aimed to mend the fractured and suspicious relationship between some Muslims and Christians. But the letter, written by ayatollahs, muftis, sheikhs, sultans, professors and ministers, has taken this assertion of cousinly, even brotherly, relations to another level. That is partly because the signatories have a considerable personal influence, in countries as diverse as Russia, Egypt, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Yemen. Looking down the list of signatories, there is one person after another with large followings, often numbered in millions," said David Ford, professor of divinity at Cambridge University. "The fact that they've signed it means it will be taken seriously at the grass roots." Just what are the revelations that this impressive cast-list has signed up to? The letter contains a clearly written account of the passages in the Koran and the Bible that illustrate close similarities in the most fundamental doctrine of Christianity and Islam. For example each of them insists that followers worship only one God, and requires them to love their neighbors as themselves. Other passages strike a note of conciliation, even humility. For example, there is the Koran's acknowledgement that the truths revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, had already been shown to the prophets of the Old Testament (the Jewish Torah) and the New Testament, including, of course, Jesus himself. The document also picks out the verses in the Koran which tell Muslims that they should treat the followers of these Jewish and Christian prophets with particular friendship and respect. It also cites the Koran's specific instruction that these "people of the Scripture" worship the same God as Muslims. But the real significance of this gesture is that it is the first act of a group that intends to become the "international voice" of mainstream Islam, missing for so long. It has been one of the problems of dialogue between Christians and Muslims that Islam has lacked a coherent mainstream view. It has little of the hierarchies that characterize the Church, headed by leaders who can credibly represent the faith. Not only is there no Muslim pope, but there is barely a single voice, or even group of voices, generally acknowledged to speak for "global Islam". It has produced a vacuum into which it has been easy for extremists to move, whether locally in a town or city, in a country or in whole regions. Extremists, from maverick imams to the leaders of al-Qaeda, have found it easy to claim to speak for Islam. "So often the extremists have been able to use the modern media," says Professor Ford. "Now finally there is a platform, a mode, for the moderate, mainstream, traditional Muslim leaders to come together and find consensus." Moderate Muslims have often been criticized for what is perceived to be their failure to speak out on more difficult issues than the shared basics of faith. As well as Muslim terrorism, they include the lack of democracy in Muslim countries and the often violent treatment of Christian minorities, especially converts to Christianity. One of the authors of the letter, Professor Aref Ali Nayed, says: "We can't solve all of Islam's problems with a single document." However he agrees that what the 138 have begun with their statement is a powerful new voice in world politics in the making. "Now we have the mechanism of getting all these scholars together to speak with one voice really worked out, we shall build upon it," says Professor Nayed. "You shall see more scholars and more documents, and we shall address other issues, issues that are more difficult. But we must have the courage to face them." By going back to fundamentals, the authors hope to undermine the fundamentalists themselves. Reiterating the shared view of a single God and the command to "love thy neighbor", the letter strips away the baggage of history and culture and produces a blank sheet for a new relationship. In a sense there is a greater potential for agreement across the religious divide than there is for healing the fractures within each religion, because no-one is asking or expecting the other for concessions. However some have questioned the letter as the basis of dialogue. The Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, himself born into a Muslim family, pointed out that Christians' view of God, containing Jesus in a divine trinity, is very different to that of Muslims. Dr Nazir-Ali said: "Dialogue should be on the basis of that difference. They appear to be saying 'this is what Muslims believe, if you agree, then let's have a dialogue'." Christian leaders do now plan a response to the letter. Professor Nayed insists that the dialogue must at least take place, arguing that world peace, even the survival of mankind, might depend on it. He said: "Christians and Muslims make up more than half the world's population, and when you look at the weapons in the hands of those people, and the violence of terrorism, it's easy to see how dangerous it is for there to be so little understanding."
FOJ Note: Bible Prophecy indicates that the world’s religions will come together in the final days and find enough common ground to unite under the authority of the Antichrist. The Antichrist will use the auspices of the False Prophet to bring the world’s religions together, and build a consensus for a world government. (Revelation 13:4-12 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.) I have long suspected that Islam and the Papacy would enough find common ground to forge a network that would eventually enable the Antichrist to be exalted in worship as God!
Jewish Rabbi Elyashiv Joins Battle For Jerusalem
Oct. 12….(Arutz) In the opening shot of the battle for Jerusalem, top rabbis of the Hareidi-religious and Jerusalemite communities have joined Rabbi Avraham Shapira’s final statement against dividing Jerusalem. A large gathering planned for Sunday at the Ramban Synagogue in the Old City is being organized by Chief Rabbi of the Old City, Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl and Rabbi Eliyahu Medina. Joining the protest is Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, considered the head of the Lithuanian Hareidi-religious public. The assembly is being called under the banner “Over Jerusalem they cast lots,” a verse from Obadiah (1:11) and will include “prayers and supplications to God.” Earlier this month, Vice-Premier Chaim Ramon ouitlined his political plan for dividing Jerusalem, saying: “The Jewish neighborhoods will be recognized by both sides as Israeli neighborhoods under Israeli sovereignty. Likewise, Arab neighborhoods such as Shuafat will be recognized as Palestinian neighborhoods. There will be arrangements to ensure, free, safe passages between the various Israeli neighborhoods and likewise between the Palestinian ones.” With regard to the Old City, Ramon wrote: “On the matter of the "holy basin," as the area including the Temple Mount and other holy sites is being referred to, there will be a special authority that will include the expression of Israel’s special interests and manage the holy sites. The Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter and the other Jewish holy sites in the Jerusalem region will stay in the hands of Israel forever.” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has refused to comment on the Ramon plan, though commentators compare the situation to when Olmert himself introduced the idea of unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza ahead of then-PM Ariel Sharon’s open adoption of the policy. Ramon is a close friend and political ally of Olmert's. On the eve of the Sukkot festival, just prior to his passing away, former Chief Rabbi and Rosh Yeshiva of the Merkaz HaRav Kook religious-Zionist center Rabbi Avraham Shapira signed a strongly-worded statement against the plan. “The Land of Israel belongs to the Nation of Israel and was granted to us as an inheritance by the Creator of the world. Neither the Prime Minister nor anybody else has the right to give away areas, or even a grain, of the holy Land of Israel. The entire Land of Israel, according to the borders outlined in the Torah, belonged in the past, and belong in the present and future, only to the Nation of Israel, and it is forbidden by severe Torah prohibition to give up any of the territory of our holy land.” The rabbi, who had issued a call prior to the Disengagement for soldiers and police to disobey orders to take part in the expulsion, continued: “Did we not learn a lesson from the expulsion of our heroic brethren from Gush Katif and northern Samaria who were uprooted from their homes? We call upon the public to protest against these statements, for the Prime Minister to repudiate them, and to show concern for the rights of the Nation of Israel in its land.”
Putin Warns Against US Missile Defense in Eastern Europe
(Russian president takes firm tone with visiting Rice, Gates during key talks)
Oct. 12….(MSN) In a tense start to talks on a range of thorny issues, President Vladimir Putin on Friday warned US officials to back off a plan to install missile defenses in eastern Europe or risk harming relations with Moscow. Addressing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the Russian president appeared to mock the US missile defense plan, which is at the center of a tangle of arms control and diplomatic disputes between the former Cold War adversaries. "Of course we can sometime in the future decide that some anti-missile defense system should be established somewhere on the moon," Putin said, according to an English translation. "But before we reach such arrangements we will lose the opportunity for fixing some particular arrangements between us." Putin said Russia may feel obliged to abandon its obligations under a 1987 missile treaty with the United States if it is not expanded to constrain other missile-armed countries. The pact eliminated the deployment of Soviet and American ballistic missiles of intermediate range and was a landmark step in arms control just two years before the fall of the Berlin Wall and later the breakup of the Soviet Union. "We need to convince other (countries) to assume the same level of obligation as assumed by the Russian Federation and the United States," Putin said. "If we are unable to obtain such a goal, it will be difficult for us to keep within the framework of the treaty in a situation where other countries do develop such weapon systems, and among those are countries located in our near vicinity."
Putin pulls no punches
Secretary Rice and Gates appeared to reporters in the room to be taken aback at the firm tough tone of Putin' remarks. On Thursday, Rice said plans to expand the US missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic will proceed, but she wants to seek Russian suggestions for cooperation to address Moscow's opposition to the program. The Pentagon plans to install 10 missile interceptors in Poland, linked to a missile tracking radar in the Czech Republic. The Pentagon says the system will provide some protection in Europe and beyond for long-range missiles launched from Iran, but Russia believes the system is a step toward undermining the deterrent value of its nuclear arsenal. Rice said the United States would go ahead with the program as planned.
Abbas Aide: The Kotel (Wailing Wall) is Also Ours Too
Oct. 12….(Israel Insider) Adnan Husseini, aide to the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, said Thursday that Palestinian demands for Israel to cede eastern Jerusalem includes the Western Wall. "This is part of Islamic heritage that cannot be given up, and it must be under Muslim control," Husseini told Israel's NRG Web site and Israel Radio, demanding that all of Jerusalem's Old City be part of a future Palestinian state. The Western Wall is a remnant of the Second Temple, razed by the Romans in 70 CE. Today it stands below the Temple Mount. Abbas had no immediate comment on Husseini's statements, which stand in contrast to several land-for-peace proposals that would allow Israel to retain control of the Western Wall and Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem's Old City. Husseni's demands further exacerbated the fury in Israel's right-wing opposition, including members of the government coalition like Shas and Israel Beitunu, which accused the Olmert government of inflating Palestinian territorial expectation by proposing the division of Jerusalem into two capitals for two peoples. Olmert has said a future peace accord with the Palestinians would require Israel to surrender some of its long-standing national claims but he has lacked the courage to spell out exactly what he is willing to hand over.
Muslims Leaders Warn Pope 'Survival of World' at Stake
Oct. 11….(Fox News) Prominent Muslim scholars are warning that the "survival of the world" is at stake if Muslims and Christians do not make peace with each other. In an unprecedented open letter signed by 138 leading Muslim scholars from every sect of Islam, the Muslims plead with Christian leaders "to come together with us on the common essentials of our two religions." (sounds a whole lot like the Genesis account of Babel, where the philosophy was for all religions to come together, and be one) The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and Pope Benedict are believed to have been sent copies of the document which calls for greater understanding between the two faiths. The letter also spells out the similarities between passages of the Bible and the Koran. The Muslim scholars state: "As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them, so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes." The Muslims even quote passages verbatim from the Bible, extremely rare in a publication of this kind and at this level and an indication of their resolve to bring the two faiths together and end the present tensions between them. The letter continues: "With the terrible weaponry of the modern world; with Muslims and Christians are intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict between more than half of the world's inhabitants. Thus our common future is at stake. The very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake." It says: "And to those who nevertheless relish conflict and destruction for their own sake or reckon that ultimately they stand to gain through them, we say that our very eternal souls are all also at stake if we fail to sincerely make every effort to make peace and come together in harmony." Concluding with a quote from the Koran, the Islamic scholars say: "So let our differences not cause hatred and strife between us. Let us vie with each other only in righteousness and good works." The phrasing has similarities to the New Testament passage: "He that is not with me is against me," a passage used by President George Bush when addressing a joint session of Congress nine days after 9/11. The Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, a non-governmental organization based in Amman, Jordan, organized the letter. The Institute said: "This historic letter is intended by its 138 signatories as an open invitation to Christians to unite with Muslims over the most essential aspects of their respective faiths - the principles of love of one God and love of the neighbor. "It is hoped that the recognition of this common ground will provide the followers of both faiths with a shared understanding that will serve to defuse tensions around the world." It continues: "Finding common ground between Muslims and Christians is not simply a matter for polite ecumenical dialogue between selected religious leaders. Together we (Muslims and Christians) make up more than 55 per cent of the population, making the relationship between these two religious communities the most important factor in contributing to meaningful peace around the world. If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace."
Palestinian Newspaper Urges: Allah Kill Americans
Oct. 11….(In The News) The Palestinian Authority (Fatah) daily newspaper’s political cartoon today illustrated a prayer for the killing of Americans. A Muslim is shown kneeling in prayer facing a US B-2 Stealth Bomber. The words of his prayer are encased in missiles aimed at Americans:
"Allah, scatter them!”
“And turn their wives into widows!”
“And turn their children into orphans!”
“And give us victory over them!”
[Al Hayat Al Jadida October 9, 2007] This curse for the death of Americans is a special prayer for Al-Qadr Night (the 27th day of Ramadan, noted in the corner of the cartoon), when Muslims customarily pray in mosques throughout the night. This continues the identification by the PA and Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction with those who fight and kill Americans. The most recently published 12th grade PA schoolbooks, for example, call those who fight American soldiers in Iraq “brave resistance.”
Turkey Shells Kurdish Rebels in Northern Iraq
Oct. 11….(AP) Turkey is shelling suspected Kurdish rebel camps across the border in northern Iraq, a newspaper reported Wednesday, but the government appeared unlikely to move toward sending ground troops until next week. A member of the governing Justice and Development Party said a request for parliamentary approval for a cross-border ground offensive was unlikely to come to the floor before the end of a four-day religious holiday on Sunday. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that preparations for the parliamentary authorization were under way but he did not say when a motion could reach the floor.
A large-scale military incursion would disrupt one of the few relatively peaceful areas of Iraq and jeopardize Turkey's ties with the United States, which has urged Ankara not to take unilateral steps. The Turkish military launched a major offensive on its side of the border this week in response to more than a week of deadly attacks in southeastern Turkey by the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. Turkish troops targeting the guerrillas' suspected escape routes in mountainous areas in Sirnak province have "squeezed" a group of about 80 rebels on Mt. Gabar, in Sirnak, the Hurriyet newspaper reported. Escape routes were being bombed by helicopter gun-ships while transport helicopters were airlifting special commando units to strategic points. Turkish troops were also shelling suspected PKK camps in the regions of Kanimasa, Nazdur and Sinath, in northern Iraq, from positions in Turkey's Hakkari province, just across the border, Hurriyet reported. Tanks were positioned near the town of Silopi, in Sirnak province, the paper said. The paper said the government would impose an information blackout on its preparations for a possible cross-border offensive. In the event that parliament gives its approval, the military could choose to immediately launch an operation or wait to see if the United States and its allies, jolted by the Turkish action, decide to crack down on the rebels. Turkey conducted two dozen large-scale incursions into Iraq between the late 1980s and 1997. The last such operation, in 1997, involved tens of thousands of troops and government-paid village guards.
Assad Rules out Syrian Participation in Peace Conference
Oct. 11….(YNET) Syrian President Bashar Assad all but ruled out his country's participation in a US-sponsored international peace conference on the Middle East, suggesting in an interview published Thursday that the meeting has no chance for success. His comments come amid deep skepticism over the conference among Arab governments, which have expressed doubts the planned gathering in November will tackle the main issues of the conflict with Israel. Top allies Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have not said whether they will attend. Arab League chief Amr Moussa predicted the conference would be a failure and said the United States was only hoping for a photo-op between Saudi and Israeli officials rather than real progress. In an interview with two Tunisian newspapers, Syria's Assad made his most concrete statement yet casting doubt on his country's participation. "Syria has not received an invitation to the conference, and even if it did, it will not take part in a conference that lacks the chances of success," Assad said. The Bush administration has said it will invite adversary Syria to the conference. But Assad had said earlier that his country would not attend the meeting if it did not address Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria during the 1967 Mideast war. In Thursday's interview, Assad said the conference should have serious and clear goals and "should include all peace tracks including the Golan issue." "The Syrian track is essential and the Golan issue is number one," he told the Ach-Chourouk and Le Quotidien newspapers. In the interview, Assad warned against any US Military action against Iran, saying it would be "foolish and detrimental to the region and to the world."
Turkey is Highly Involved in Syrian Track
Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan told Presiden Peres that the Syrians are serious about peace in a meeting between the two men after the Turkish leader arrived in Israel from Syria on Sunday. In his meeting with the Israeli statesman, the Turkish guest said that his meetings with Syrian officials were positive and practical. "I encouraged the leaders to take part in Bush's international peace conference and they explicitly told me that they are interested in having Israeli-Syrian issues brought to the negotiating table at the conference," Babacan said. Peres responded by saying that if Assad is serious, Israel would be willing to engage in peace talks. The Israeli leader also said that Syria is playing both sides. On one hand they are expressing interest in peace talks, but on the other they are supporting international terrorism by serving as an extremist "Iranian satellite," aiding Hizbullah and supporting efforts to bring down the government in Lebanon. Recently, Turkey requested clarifications from Israel after discharged fuel canisters used in fighter jets were found in its territory near its border with Syria. Babacan added: "The area is currently in a very dangerous and delicate state. We are calling on all sides to reach a solution (to their grievances) through dialogue and other peaceful means."
Turkey: We won't let Israel Strike Syria
Turkey assured the Damascus government on Sunday it would not let Israel use its airspace to strike Syria after an Israeli raid heightened tension in the Middle East. Diplomats said at least four Israeli planes flew in attack formation along the Syrian-Turkish border before striking deep into Syria on Sept 6. Syria and Israel have given little information on the target. "Turkey will not let Turkish territory or airspace be used in any activity that could harm the security or safety of Syria," Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said after meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Sunday.
Arabs Say Without Syria, Peace Summit Will Fail
Arab League chief Amr Moussa predicted the conference would be a failure and said the United States was only hoping for a photo-op between Saudi and Israeli officials rather than real progress. For its part, IDF Military Intelligence has expressed doubts about the likelihood of success at the regional peace summit, saying the Palestinians would like to make immediate gains at the summit, but in return will postpone or fail to carry out their commitments. Syria's Assad made his most concrete statement yet casting doubt on his country's participation, saying Syria has not received an invitation to the conference, and even if it did, it will not take part in a conference that lacks the chances of success. The Bush administration has said it will invite adversary Syria to the conference. But Assad had said earlier that his country would not attend the meeting if it did not address Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights. The United States has kept quiet on the most basic details about the meeting, including precise dates, the guest list and the location, though it is expected to be in Annapolis, Maryland. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be on the spot to fill in the blanks during a preparatory trip to the Middle East that is schedule to start this weekend. In the Saudi capital Riyadh, the head of the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council Abdul-Rahman Attiyah called Thursday for joint Arab-Palestinian action to set the conditions for the success the conference. He also expressed skepticism that the meeting would be successful because Israel does not want peace. Moussa warned of a likely failure of the conference during an international economic forum Wednesday night in Cairo. "All what they [the Americans] want, as some say, is that the [Saudi Foreign Minister] Saud al-Faisal shake hands with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, that the two take pictures. This is a joke, it's not serious," Moussa said. Prince Saud al-Faisal will not do that, it has been decided," he said. In the interview, Assad acknowledged that relations with Saudi Arabia and Egypt were not as they should be but said his country was open to any initiatives to improve ties. Damascus' relations with longtime US allies Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan have been cool, partly over what they see as Syria's role in promoting the interests of its ally Iran in the Arab world.
Baptist Publicly Tortured for Sspreading Christianity'
(Muslims beat, murder bookstore manager, claim he engaged in missionary activity)
Oct. 11….(WND) The manager of a Christian bookstore in the Gaza Strip who was found dead last weekend was first publicly beaten and tortured by Islamic gunmen accusing him of spreading Christianity, according to witnesses and Palestinian security officials speaking to WND. The body of Rami Ayyad, who managed the only Christian bookstore in Gaza, reportedly was found Sunday riddled with gunshot and stab wounds. Ayyad had been abducted the previous night as he closed his shop, according to a local Christian group. Ayyad, a Baptist, was accused by Gaza-based Islamic groups of engaging in missionary activity. His bookstore, owned by the Palestinian Bible Society, was firebombed in April after which he told relatives he received numerous death threats from Islamists. The day of his abduction, Ayyad reportedly said he was being followed by a car that had no license plates. According to witnesses and security officials associated with Hamas' so-called Executive Force speaking to WND, Ayyad was publicly tortured a few blocks from his store before he was shot to death. The witnesses said they saw three armed men, two of whom were wearing masks, beat Ayyad repeatedly with clubs and the butts of their guns while they accused him of attempting to spread Christianity in Gaza. The witnesses said that after sustaining the beating, Ayyad was shot in the head by all three men. Ayyad was buried Sunday, leaving behind a pregnant wife and two young children.
Christians in Gaza Warned: Accept Islamic law
Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic outreach movement that recently announced the opening of a "military wing" to enforce Muslim law in Gaza, told WND although his group "didn't carry out the Ayyad attack," all Christians in Gaza engaged in missionary activity will be "dealt with harshly." Hamas in June seized complete control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah amid widespread fears it would impose hard-line Islamic rule in the territory, and that life for Christians might deteriorate. About 3,000 Christians live in the Gaza Strip, which has a population of over 1 million.
Hamas Says 'West can learn from Islamic Values'
In response to the accusations Hamas may impose hard-line Islamic rules, Hamas chief in Gaza and former foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar told WND in a recent interview: "I hardly understand the point of view of the West concerning these issues. The West brought all this freedom to its people, but it is that freedom that has brought about the death of morality in the West. It's what led to phenomena like homosexuality, homelessness and AIDS." Asked if Hamas is seeking to impose Islamic law on the Palestinians, al-Zahar responded, "The Palestinian people are Muslim people, and we do not need to impose anything on our people, because they are already committed to their faith and religion. He referred to what Britain's Prince Charles said at Oxford University," when he spoke about Islam and its important role in morality and culture. He said the West must learn from Islam how to bring up children properly and to teach them the right values."
Abbas Spells out Demands for Palestinian State
Oct. 10….(YNET) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday laid out his most specific demands for the borders of a future independent state, calling for a full Israeli withdrawal from all territories captured in the 1967 Mideast war. Abbas' claim comes as Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams are trying to hammer out a joint vision for a future peace deal in time for a US hosted conference next month. With Israel seeking to retain parts of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Abbas' comments appeared to set the stage for tough negotiations, which are expected to include complicated arrangements such as land swaps and shared control over holy sites. In a television interview, Abbas said the Palestinians want to establish a state on 6,205 square kilometers (2,400 square miles) of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It was the first time he has given a precise number for the amount of land he is seeking. "We have 6,205 square kilometers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip," Abbas told Palestine TV. "We want it as it is." According to Palestinian negotiating documents obtained by The Associated Press, the Palestinian demands include all of the Gaza Strip, West Bank, east Jerusalem and small areas along the West Bank frontier that were considered no-man's land before the 1967 war. Abbas said his claim is backed by UN resolutions. "This is our vision for the Palestinian independent state with full sovereignty on its borders, water and resources." Israeli government spokeswoman Miri Eisin declined to comment, saying she did not want to prejudice negotiations. But the Palestinian demands appear to exceed anything that Israel would be willing to offer. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held their first working meeting this week as they try to hammer out a joint declaration in time for next month's conference. The US hopes the document will provide a launching ground for full-fledged negotiations on a final peace agreement. Israel captured the territories in the 1967 Mideast war and hopes in a final peace deal with the Palestinians to hold on to parts of the West Bank where Jewish settlement blocs are located. Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Despite Abbas' tough public stance, aides to Abbas said he has agreed in recent talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to exchange West Bank land Israel wants to keep in a final peace deal with an equal amount of Israeli land. This would allow Israel to annex the West Bank area where the settlement blocs are located. As part of the proposal, Abbas offered Olmert about 2 percent of the West Bank, the aides said. Olmert is seeking some 6-8 percent of the West Bank, but has said the exact amount of territory should be decided in future negotiations. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to discuss sensitive diplomatic matters with the media. In exchange for the West Bank land, Israel is reportedly considering transferring to the Palestinians a strip of area between the Gaza Strip and West Bank to allow for a connection between them. Abbas said the joint statement at the conference must deal with the main hurdles preventing a final peace agreement. "The international conference must include the six major issues that are Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements, water and security," Abbas said.
Palestinian Newspaper Publishes Prayer for Destruction of US Forces
Oct. 10….(Israel Today) A Palestinian daily newspaper controlled by the ruling Fatah party published a political cartoon on Tuesday depicting a devout Muslim man praying for Allah to destroy US military forces in the Middle East. Printed in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, the cartoon shows the fervently praying man's words being encapsulated in missiles aimed at a US F-117 stealth fighter of the type commonly used during the initial combat phase of the Second Gulf War. The prayer was published specially for the Al-Qadr Night, the 27th day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims customarily pray through the night at local mosques. Translation of the cartoon was provided by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an Israeli watchdog group that monitors the Palestinian Authority-controlled press. PMW Director Itamar Marcus noted that Tuesday's cartoon further identified the Palestinian Authority of "moderate" Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas "with those who fight and kill Americans."
Oct. 10….(In The News) At the opening of the Knesset Winter Session, Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu lashed out at the government’s policy, claiming that its strategy would eventually lead to an Iranian terrorist presence in Jerusalem and the rest of Israel.
“The unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon created an Iranian outpost - from which Israel is being attacked - in the North, and the unilateral pullout from Gaza created a second Iranian base in Gaza, ‘Hamastan,’” Netanyahu said. “And now the government is planning a third withdrawal, from Judea and Samaria, that will lead to a third Iranian outpost.” Netanyahu quoted statements made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert before the withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza, respectively, saying the two had promised security, while Israel was in actuality served with aggression and terror. “Giving Hamas half of Jerusalem will make the rest of Jerusalem unlivable,” Netanyahu said. “Giving up Judea and Samaria will transfer the areas controlling the coastal plain into the hands of Hamas, leading to Kassams raining on Tel Aviv.” “According to the government’s plans, Israel will pull back to the 67′ borders. Obviously, this is the plan and any attempts to disguise it are futile,” he said. “We are facing an exact replica of the government’s plan at the Camp David summit in 2000.” “This is no way to make peace,” the former prime minister lamented. Netanyahu claimed that the government was putting all of its cards on the table, a move which, he said, would only cause heightened pressure from Palestinian terrorists whose intention would be to bring about an early withdrawal. “Olmert will place Hamas men on the walls of Jerusalem,” he warned. “Jerusalem will fast become a pilgrimage site for terrorists from all over the world.” “The government’s policy is afflicted with total blindness, a vision must be rooted in the ground- not suspended in the clouds.”
US Warns Turkey to Stay Out of Iraq
Oct. 10….(AP) The United States has urged Turkey to refrain from a cross-border military operation to chase separatist Kurdish rebels who operate from bases in northern Iraq. Meanwhile, the Kurdish regional government's spokesman Jamal Abdullah pleaded with Turkey to show restraint after Tuesday's statement. "We call upon the Turkish government to exercise self-restraint and not to turn the region into an unstable one," he said. "Such attacks will threaten the stability not only in Iraq but the whole region." One punitive measure at Turkey's disposal is to close the border with northern Iraq. Iran had done the same to protest detention of an Iranian official, and reopened its border Monday. U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack warned against a unilateral move. "If they have a problem, they need to work together to resolve it, and I'm not sure that unilateral incursions are the way to go," he said. "We have counseled, both in public and private, for many, many months, the idea that it is important to work cooperatively to resolve this issue."
Putin Says Iran is not Building a Nuclear Weapon
(We do not have data that says Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons, Russian president says at news briefing with visiting French leader Nicolas Sarkozy. 'Therefore we proceed from a position that Iran has no such plans but we share the concern of our partners that all programs should be as transparent as possible)
Oct. 10….(YNET) Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a news briefing with visiting French leader Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday that he has not seen any real evidence that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon. "We do not have data that says Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons. We do not have such objective data," Putin said. "Therefore we proceed from a position that Iran has no such plans but we share the concern of our partners that all programs should be as transparent as possible. "We are sharing our partners' concern about making all Iranian programs transparent," Putin said. "We agreed yesterday, and Mr. President confirmed it, that Iran is making certain steps toward international community to achieve that," he added. Putin is to make his first visit to Iran early next week for a summit of Caspian Sea nations. Sarkozy said Putin's trip to Tehran could encourage Iran to be more cooperative. "After the trip, there could be a will to cooperate, that is essential," he said. Russia has opposed the US-push for tougher sanctions against Iran and called for more checks and inspections of Iranian facilities by an international nuclear watchdog. "We have worked cooperatively with our partners at the United Nations Security Council, and we intend to continue such cooperative work in the future," Putin said.
Cheney, Rice Divided Over Israeli Intel
(Officials in the Bush Administration are divided over the significance of intelligence provided by Israel that led to last month's strike inside Syria on a reported nuclear facility)
Oct. 10….()According to the Times, at issue is whether intelligence presented by Israel months ago to the administration that Syria had begun work on a nuclear weapons program was conclusive enough to justify military action by Israel, and subsequently, a rethinking of American policy toward the two nations. US Vice President Dick Cheney and other conservatives in the administration are portraying the Israeli intelligence as credible and argue that it should cause the US to reconsider its diplomatic overtures to Syria and North Korea. By contrast, the Times reports, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her allies in the White House said they do not believe that the intelligence presented so far merits any change in the American diplomatic approach. During a breakfast meeting on October 2 at the White House, Rice and chief North Korea negotiator, Christopher Hill, told Bush that the US faced a choice: to continue with the nuclear pact with North Korea as a way to bring it back into the diplomatic fold and give it the incentive to stop proliferating nuclear material; or to return to the administration's previous strategy of isolation, which detractors say left North Korea to its own devices and led it to test a nuclear device last October. Cheney and National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley also attended the meeting but expressed unease at the decision last week by Bush and Rice to proceed with an agreement to supply the North Koreans with economic aid in return for disabling its nuclear reactor. They argued that the Israeli intelligence demonstrates that North Korea cannot be trusted. They also argue that the US should be prepared to scuttle the agreement unless North Korea admits to its dealing with the Syrians. Besides Rice, officials said that Defense Secretary Robert Gates was also cautious about fully endorsing Israeli warnings. Others in the Bush administration remain unconvinced that a nascent Syrian nuclear program could pose an immediate threat. One former top Bush administration official told the Times the Israelis were so concerned about the threat posed by a potential Syrian nuclear program that they told the White House they could not wait past the end of the summer to strike the facility. The President’s administration can be roughly broken down into two camps. The more conservative officials, Vice President Dick Cheney among them, say that Israel's intelligence reports are significant enough to necessitate a change in US policy towards Syria and North Korea, notably a return to America's former policy of isolation. America's deal with North Korea, which granted the communist nation economic incentives to dismantle its nuclear facilities, angered conservatives who believed that the Bush administration placed diplomacy with North Korea ahead of the battle to combat the spread of illicit weapons in the Middle East. "Opposing the Israeli strike to protect the six-party talks would be a breathtaking repudiation of the administration's own national security strategy," the paper quoted John R. Bolton, former United States ambassador to the United Nations, as saying. However, the other camp, led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, is pushing for the US to maintain its policy of diplomatic engagement.
Washington asks Jerusalem to Clarify the Israeli dossier on North Korean-aided Syrian Nuclear and Missile Activity
Oct. 10….(DEBKA) The New York Times reveals that Turkish officials presented Damascus on Oct. 6, with an “Israeli dossier” on a Syrian nuclear program which Israeli relayed to Washington before its Sept. 6 air strike. However Assad “vigorously denied the intelligence and said that what the Israelis had hit was a “storage depot for strategic missiles.” DEBKAfile’s sources add: Turkish foreign minister Ali Babacan, who presented the Israeli dossier to Syrian President Bashar Assad, also delivered his reply to Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert in a one-on-one conversation in Jerusalem Oct. 7. Washington is now demanding Israel’s response to Assad’s claim. The purpose of relaying the “Israeli dossier” to Ankara in the first place was to demonstrate that Syrian nuclear activity aided by North Korea potentially menaced neighboring Turkey as well as US regional interests and Israel. According to the NYT, the debate in the Bush administration is over whether the Israeli evidence points to a Syrian nuclear program that does indeed pose a significant threat to the Middle East and should therefore lead to critical changes in Bush administration policies for the Middle East and North Korea. Israel would not have launched the strike in Syria if it believed Damascus was merely developing more sophisticated ballistic missiles or chemical weapons. Those red lines were crossed 20 years ago.” Of late, US sources have voiced strong suspicions that Syria and Iran have acquired “dirty bombs.” The question is whether North Korea has been helping Syria build missiles packed with radioactive materials and fitted with an airburst capability to boot.
US Plans new Military Presence in Lebanon including big Air Base by Syrian Border
Oct. 10….(DEBKA) The new air base, according to DEBKAfile’s military sources, will be located at Kleiat in northern Lebanon roughly 75 air miles from Damascus, which these days doubles as a shared Syrian-Iranian military hub and Tehran’s eastern Mediterranean forward base. The American air installation will also lie 22 air miles from Tartous, Syria’s main naval base and the Russian Mediterranean fleet’s command center. And the aircraft posted there will be minutes away from the joint Syrian-Iranian arms and missiles industries at Homs and Hamma. DEBKAfile’s source report the Bush administration’s drastic change of policy on Lebanon was settled in consultations at the Pentagon and National Security Council after the talks the chief of the US Central Command Adm. William Fallon held with Lebanese government heads on July 29. This new direction was confirmed after the Israeli air raid over Syria of Sept. 6. It brings the American military back to Lebanon after a 25-year absence. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan pulled US troops out of the country after Syrian military intelligence orchestrated terrorist bombing attacks on the US embassy and Marines headquarters in Beirut, which left more than 300 soldiers, diplomats and CIA agents dead. The first stage of construction will reactivate the small defunct air base at Kleiat as a joint US-Lebanese venture. Prime minister Fouad Siniora will explain that the four months of bloody fighting to crush the Fatah al-Islam revolt in the northern Nahar al-Bared camp demonstrated how badly the Lebanese army needs an operational air base in the region. US Air Force engineers and technicians have begun work on the new air field. At a later stage, it will be expanded for American military use.
Ex-Mexican President Fox: 'Amero' is on the Way
(Vicente Fox confirms long-term deal worked out with President Bush)
Oct. 10….(WND) Former Mexican President Vicente Fox confirmed the existence of a plan conceived with President Bush to create a new regional currency in the Americas, in an interview last night on CNN's "Larry King Live."
It possibly was the first time a leader of Mexico, Canada or the US openly confirmed a plan for a regional currency. Fox explained the current regional trade agreement that encompasses the Western Hemisphere is intended to evolve into other previously hidden aspects of integration. According to the CNN interview, King, near the end of the broadcast, asked Fox a question e-mailed from a listener, a Ms. Gonzalez from Elizabeth, N.J.: "Mr. Fox, I would like to know how you feel about the possibility of having a Latin America united with one currency?" Fox answered in the affirmative, indicating it was a long-term plan. He admitted he and President Bush had agreed to pursue the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, a free-trade zone extending throughout the Western Hemisphere, suggesting part of the plan was to institute eventually a regional currency. "What we proposed together, President Bush and myself, it's ALCA, which is a trade union for all the Americas." ALCA is the acronym for the Area de Libre Comercio de las Américas, the name of the FTAA in Spanish. King, evidently startled by Fox's revelation of the currency, asked pointedly, "It's going to be like the euro dollar (sic), you mean?" "Well, that would be long, long term," Fox repeated. Fox noted the FTAA plan had been thwarted by Hugo Chavez, the radical socialist president of Venezuela. "Everything was running fluently until Hugo Chavez came," Fox commented. "He decided to combat the idea and destroy the idea." Fox explained that he and Bush intended to proceed incrementally, establishing FTAA as an economic agreement first and waiting to create an amero-type currency later, a plan he also suggested was in place for NAFTA itself. In an article in the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs, entitled "The End of National Currency," CFR economist Benn Steil asserts the dollar is a temporary currency. Steil concluded "countries should abandon monetary nationalism," moving to adopt regional currencies, on the road to a global "one world currency." Steve Previs, a vice president at Jeffries International Ltd. in London, said the amero "is the proposed new currency for the North American Community which is being developed right now between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.
Would a Palestinian State Advance US Interests?
Oct. 9….(Arutz/ Hillel Fendel) American-Israeli relations expert Yoram Ettinger, a former Congressional liaison in Israel's Washington embassy, says the Palestinian Authority has always taken a pro-terror slant, in opposition to US policy and interests. In the latest edition of his "From the Jerusalem Cloakroom" newsletter, Ettinger continues what sometimes appears to be a one-man crusade against the creation of a Palestinian state. His latest theme is that the PA openly supports Moslem terrorism and incitement, in opposition to US policy and interests. The newsletter has dealt with the issue of a Palestinian state of late, in anticipation of the Middle East conference scheduled for next month outside Washington at which US President Bush hopes to make such a state a reality. Ettinger directly and sharply targets Palestinian Authority/Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas, known in terrorist circles as Abu Mazen, and the entity he governs. "Abu Mazen's PA/PLO," Ettinger writes, "has been a systematic ally of Bin-Laden, Saddam Hussein, Iran, North Korea, China and Russia. It has been a deadly threat to the Hashemites of Jordan and moderate Gulf regimes." Furthermore, Ettinger charges, the PA has been "a role-model of inter-Arab treachery, hate-education, terrorism, homicide and car bombing, hijacking and murder of diplomats (e.g., murdered US ambassadors in Sudan), human rights violation, oppression of Christian Arabs and corruption. PLO mentors were allies of the Nazis and of the ruthless communist regimes in Moscow and Eastern Europe." Ettinger, who still serves intermittently as an Israeli government consultant, cites cartoons recently published in the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that honor the perpetrator of 9/11, Osama Bin-Laden, even as the US continues to mourn the nearly 3,000 victims of those attacks. The cartoons "echo sermons and text books in Abu Mazen’s controlled mosques and schools," Ettinger notes. Palestinian terrorists fought US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past, Ettinger said, and if they are granted a state, will simply provide an east Mediterranean platform to US enemies and will add yet another anti-US vote at the United Nations.
The Dangerous Game Of Dividing Jerusalem May Have Catastrophic Results On America
Oct. 9….(Bill Wilson, KIN Senior Analyst) A confidant of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is now saying that Israel will turn over part of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority and allow the organization to make its capital somewhere in East Jerusalem. Vice Prime Minister Haim Ramon told Army Radio that in return, Israel would receive the recognition of the international community, including Arab states, of its sovereignty over Jewish neighborhoods and the existence of its capital in Jerusalem. Ramon said the Palestinians could establish the capital of a future state in the sector of the city, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day war. This is an Israeli proposal that essentially has the backing of the political parties on the Israeli side, according to Ramon. Under the proposal, Israel would not transfer sovereignty of the Holy City to the Palestinians, but some sources are saying that there are details in the proposal that would relinquish control of some of the most contentious sites, translated, the Temple Mount. Ramon said that the most important objective of the plan is to "preserve the state of Israel Jewish and democratic." One wonders if the political parties in Israel supporting this land for peace proposal are under such pressure from the United States that they feel their choices are limited. At the most recent US State Department celebration of Ramadan, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Muslim attendees, “But in this longstanding conflict of Palestinians and Israelis, I want to say to you that perhaps the time has come. Palestinians have waited long enough for the dignity that will come with their own state. Israelis have waited long enough for the security that will come in sitting beside a democratic neighbor.” The hope of these “democracy idealists” is that given a democratically elected Palestinian state beside Israel, there will be peace. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The democratically-elected terrorists, Hamas, have turned the West Bank into a terrorist stronghold that attacks Israeli citizens on a daily basis. Rice ended her remarks by alluding to a Muslim prophet in saying, “Tonight, as we celebrate our great diversity, let us remember that the lamps are different but the lights are the same.” It is this kind of foolheartedness that will bring destruction upon the lives of many. Yes, Madam Secretary, the lamps are different, but so are the gods. Zechariah 12:3 says, “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” The prophecies of Zechariah are in play and American politicians are playing a dangerous game.
37% of Israelis Willing to Cede Sovereignty in Jerusalem's Holy Sites
Oct. 9….(YNET) (Yedioth Ahronoth and Dahaf Institute survey reveals 52% of Israeli Jews willing to change Jerusalem's status as part of a permanent peace agreement with Palestinians, but 61% believe Israel should remain city's sovereign) Despite the ongoing political discussions over the creation of fringe neighborhoods in Jerusalem, most Israelis are in no hurry to back the changes suggested by Vice Premier Haim Ramon and Minister for Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman in the capital's status-quo. According to a poll carried out by Dr Mina Tzemach and the Dahaf Institute among the Jewish asult population in Israel and published by Yedioth Ahronoth Tuesday, while most Israeli Jews are against changing the current situation in Jerusalem, many are willing to consider changes the status-quo of the city's holy places. When asked whether or not Prime Minister Ehud Olmert could achieve a public mandate allowing him to change Jerusalem's status as part of a permanent peace agreement with the Palestinians, 52% of those taking part in the poll said they would lend their support to such a move if 80% of the ministers were behind it. Some 22% said they would support the move should a referendum be held, 10% would support the move as-is and 7% would object to it. Should Israel compromise Jerusalem's statues as part of any future peace agreement with the Palestinians? Sixty-three percent of those asked said they think Jerusalem should not be included in a peace agreement, 21% thought it should and 16% would agree to it only if the motion was carried out by referendum. As for the handing over of Palestinian neighborhoods in east Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority, 68% of the poll's participants were against the idea, 20% agreed with it and 11% said they would agree should a referendum support the idea. But what of the holy places in Jerusalem? When asked who should remain sovereign of the Western Wall and Temple Mount, 61% believed Israel should be named sovereign, 16% voted for joint Israeli-Palestinian sovereignty, 21% said the holy places should be under international rule and 1% said Jordan should be named the holy places' sovereign.
Israel, PA Reportedly Agree Jordanian Control of Temple Mount
(London-based Palestinian daily quotes Abbas aide as saying, Israel and Palestinians have agreed to transfer control of parts of Old City in Jerusalem to Jordan as part of future peace agreement)
Oct. 8….(YNET) Israel and the Palestinians have agreed that the Temple Mount as well as other parts of the Old City in Jerusalem will be under Jordanian control as part of a future peace deal, a Palestinian daily reported on Monday. The London-based al-Quds al-Arabi reported that President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reached the agreement during recent talks in Jerusalem. Under the arrangement, the Old City's Arab residents will be granted Jordanian citizenship. The newspaper did not say whether Israel would keep control of Jewish holy sites and neighborhoods in the Old City. The arrangement will make the Jordanian monarchy a guardian of holy Muslim shrines in Jerusalem. The plan's details and implementation will be supervised by Jordan, Israel, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations, the newspaper said. The report comes a day after remarks by Vice Premier Haim Ramon that Abbas and Olmert will discuss the status of Jerusalem during the US-sponsored talks in November. Ramon said it was in Israel's interest to hand over control of Jerusalem's Arab neighborhoods to the Palestinian Authority. A Palestinian official told Ynet it was agreed in principle that the neighborhoods of Shuafat, Wadi Jos, Beit Hanina, Ras el-Amoud and Jabal Mukaber would be transferred to PA control. He added that progress was also made regarding the excavations at the Temple Mount. The Palestinians have recently claimed that Israel is attempting to build a synagogue under the complex. The official said that under a future deal Israel would be responsible for security at the Temple Mount while the Palestinians would have sovereignty over the area. In addition, Israel agreed not to conduct any archeological digs at the complex. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office denied al-Quds al-Arabi's report, saying "no agreement has been reached."
It's Official: Terrorists Endorse Hillary in '08
(On the record, Mideast jihadi leaders say she's best hope for victory in Iraq)
Oct. 8….(WND) With presidential primaries approaching and the race for the White House heating up, Muslim terrorist leaders in the Middle East have offered their endorsement for America's highest office, stating in a new book they hope Sen. Hillary Clinton is victorious in 2008. "I hope Hillary is elected in order to have the occasion to carry out all the promises she is giving regarding Iraq," stated Ala Senakreh, West Bank chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist group. Senakreh is one of dozens of terror leaders sounding off about American politics in the new book, "Schmoozing with Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land, Jihadists reveal their Global plans” by WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein. Abu Hamed, leader of the Al Aqsa Brigades in the northern Gaza Strip, explained that Clinton's repeated calls for a withdrawal from Iraq "proves that important leaders are understanding the situation differently and are understanding the price and the consequences of the American policy in Iraq and in the world." "The Iraqi resistance is succeeding," stated Hamed. "Hillary and the Democrats call for withdrawal. Her popularity shows that the resistance is winning and that the occupation is losing. We just hope that she will go until the end and change the American policy, which is based on oppressing poor and innocent people." The Brigades, together with the Islamic Jihad terrorist group, took responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel the past three years. The Brigades also has carried out hundreds of recent shootings and rocket attacks. Abu Ayman, an Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin, said he is "emboldened" by Clinton's calls for an eventual withdrawal from Iraq. "It is clear that it is the resistance operations of the mujahideen that has brought about these calls for withdrawal," boasted Abu Ayman. Nasser Abu Aziz, the West Bank deputy commander of the Al Aqsa Brigades, declared it is "very good" there are "voices like Hillary and others who are now attacking the Iraq invasion." In "Schmoozing," every terrorist leader out of dozens interviewed stated they hope a Democrat becomes president in 2008. Some Palestinian terrorist leaders stated their support of Clinton, in part, stems from hopes she will apply some of her husband's foreign policies, particularly toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "I hope also she will maintain her husband's policies regarding Palestine and even develop that policy," stated Brigades chiefton Senakreh. "President Clinton wanted to give the Palestinians 98 percent of the West Bank territories. I hope Hillary will move a step forward and will give the Palestinians all their rights. She has the chance to save the American nation and the Americans life.”
The Battle for Jerusalem Begins
Oct. 8….(IsraelNN.com) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will put Jerusalem on the negotiating table as he hurtles toward a “joint declaration” with the Palestinian Authority ahead of next month’s US-sponsored Mideast summit. The prime minister says that a joint declaration with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas prior to the summit will lead to direct negotiations. The Arabic Al Quds Al-Arabiya newspaper reported Monday morning that Olmert has now come to an agreement with Jordan that Arabs in eastern Jerusalem will be granted Jordanian citizenship. The plan would leave Jerusalem's Muslim holy sites under the control of the Hashemite kingdom, according to the report. Olmert vehemently denied the report in a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office. "The idea never existed," said the statement. Vice Prime Minister Chaim Ramon, the Prime Minister's close aide and friend, however, has been pushing for the division of Jerusalem. Ramon has been promoting his own plan to hand half of the city over to the Palestinian Authority (PA), not to Jordan. Ramon also publicly backed an arrangement for sovereignty over Jerusalem's Old City. Only regarding the Jewish Quarter did Ramon state it would remain under Israeli rule. But Monday morning he cautioned that it is too early to detail possible arrangements. Dr. Guy Bechor, a leading expert on Arab affairs, said recently that the prime minister agreed in writing nearly two months ago to hand over half of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority. He based his information on "leaks from the Palestinian side." Dr. Bechor said that Judea and Samaria, the strategic highlands in the middle of the Jewish State where much biblical history occurred, are also on the chopping block. The Olmert government is pushing for the establishment of an Arab state to be called Palestine alongside the Jewish State. A large but undetermined number of thriving Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria that were built over the past 40 years will be destroyed, according to the agreement. Dividing historic Jerusalem is an explosive point as four no-confidence motions are brought to a vote Monday, the first day of the Knesset's winter session. A number of Knesset members strongly opposed the plan, including MK Ze'ev Elkin, a member of Olmert's own Kadima party. “I very much hope this is simply a rumor,” Elkin told reporters on Monday. “But if it is true, it is certainly a perversion of the Kadima party platform, and I will fight Vice Prime Minister Ramon’s plan with everything in my power. I will defend the unity of Jerusalem, as we promised the voters,” he added. National Union Knesset Member Tzvi Hendel contended that placing control over the Temple Mount under Jordanian sovereignty is nothing less than national suicide. "I realized a long time ago to my sorry that there was no doubt Olmert would divide Jerusalem," he said. "Today it has become clear that even the Temple Mount, the heart of hearts of the Jewish People, is on the sales sheet for destruction." Hendel added that Israel relinquishing control of the Temple Mount constitutes "an existential threat to the State of Israel." Olmert’s intent to divide Jerusalem also comes in direct contradiction to a previous promise he made to Christian Zionists a year ago, as well as one made by Foreign Minister and then-deputy Prime Minister Tzipi Livni several months ago. “If there is any agreement with the Palestinians it will be brought to the government for its approval, and then to the Knesset for ratification as well," promised Livni. Prime Minister Olmert assured cabinet ministers Sunday that he will not make any strategic concessions to the PA at the US-sponsored Mideast summit next month, but added the caveat that he nonetheless has the authority to cut a deal if he so chooses, without the approval of the Knesset. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has continued to up the ante in demands before the November 26th summit, insisting that a final agreement be spelled out to include all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza as part of a new Arab state, with Jerusalem as its capital. Abbas’s demands signal a hardening of his stance that any future state include Israel's withdrawing from all of the land beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines and which was restored to the country after the Six Day War in 1967.
General Petraeus Steps up Accusations Against Iran
Oct. 8….(Reuters) The US military commander in Iraq stepped up accusations over the weekend that Iran was inciting violence there and said Tehran's ambassador to Baghdad was a member of the Revolutionary Guards Qods force. General David Petraeus, speaking at a US military base about 30 km (20 miles) from the Iranian border on Saturday, said Iran was giving militia groups advanced weaponry and guidance. "They are responsible for providing the weapons, the training, the funding and in some cases the direction for operations that have indeed killed US soldiers," Petraeus told a group of reporters when asked if the Iranian government was responsible for killing US troops. Iran dismissed Petraeus's comments as "baseless". Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a news conference Petraeus's remarks were "not new". Petraeus did not say how he knew Iran's ambassador to Baghdad, Hassan Kazemi-Qomi, was a Qods force member, but he appeared to suggest the envoy was not under the US military spotlight because he was a diplomat. The ambassador is a Qods force member," Petraeus said. Kazemi-Qomi has twice met US ambassador Ryan Crocker in Baghdad this year for landmark talks on ways to stabilize Iraq. The discussions have made little headway. In August President George W. Bush, already at odds with Iran over its nuclear program, said attacks on US troops with Iranian-supplied weapons were increasing and he had told commanders in Iraq to "confront Tehran's murderous activities". Since then, US military officers have repeatedly presented what they say is evidence of Iranian-produced arms, including the particularly deadly explosively formed projectile (EFP) bombs, being used against US soldiers. Tehran routinely denies US accusations that it plays a role in Iraq's violence, as well as Western allegations its nuclear program is aimed at developing atomic weapons.
Bush: All Religions Pray to 'Same God'
Oct. 7….(WND) US President George Bush has repeated his belief all religions, "whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God," an assertion that caused outrage among evangelical leaders when he said it in November 2003. Bush made the statement Friday in an interview with Al Arabiya reporter Elie Nakouzi. Al Arabiya is Al Jazeerah's top competitor in the Mideast. As the president and Nakouzi walked from the Oval Office to the Map Room in the White House residence, Nazouki asked, "But I want to tell you, and I hope this doesn't bother you at all, that in the Islamic world they think that President Bush is an enemy of Islam, that he wants to destroy their religion, what they believe in. Is that in any way true, Mr. President?" "No, it's not," said Bush. "I've heard that, and it just shows [sic] a couple of things: One, that the radicals have done a good job of propagandizing. In other words, they've spread the word that this really isn't peaceful people versus radical people or terrorists, this is really about the America not liking Islam. "Well, first of all, I believe in an Almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God. That's what I believe. I believe that Islam is a great religion that preaches peace. And I believe people who murder the innocent to achieve political objectives aren't religious people, whether they be a Christian who does that, we had a person blow up our federal building in Oklahoma City who professed to be a Christian, but that's not a Christian act to kill innocent people. "And I just simply don't subscribe to the idea that murdering innocent men, women and children, particularly Muslim men, women and children in the Middle East, is an act of somebody who is a religious person. Friday's statement echoed one made by President Bush in November 2003 during a joint press conference with then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. A reporter noted Bush had frequently expressed the view that freedom is a gift from "the Almighty," but questioned whether Bush believes "Muslims worship the same Almighty" as the president and other Christians do. "I do say that freedom is the Almighty's gift to every person. I also condition it by saying freedom is not America's gift to the world," Bush replied. "It's much greater than that, of course. And I believe we worship the same god," reported the London Telegraph. Reaction from US evangelical leaders was swift and strong. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, was quoted in the Baptist Press as saying the president "is simply mistaken." According to a Washington Post account, Land said in an interview: "We should always remember that he is commander in chief, not theologian in chief. The Bible is clear on this: The one and true god is Jehovah, and his only begotten son is Jesus Christ."
The Rev. Ted Haggard, then-president of the National Association of Evangelicals, also contradicted the president in a press statement. "The Christian God encourages freedom, love, forgiveness, prosperity and health," said Haggard. "The Muslim god appears to value the opposite. The personalities of each god are evident in the cultures, civilizations and dispositions of the peoples that serve them. Muhammad's central message was submission; Jesus' central message was love. They seem to be very different personalities."
In November 2006, Haggard was forced to resign from NAE following allegations of drug use and sex with a homosexual prostitute.
Gary Bauer, former presidential candidate and president of American Values, said Bush's comment was "not helpful to the president. Since everybody agrees he's not a theologian, he would be much better advised to punt when he gets that kind of question."
In Friday's interview with Al Arabiya, Bush emphasized his outreach to Muslims.
"We are having an Iftaar dinner tonight – I say, 'we' – it's my wife and I," Bush told Nakouzi. "This is the seventh one in the seven years I've been the president. It gives me a chance to say 'Ramadan Mubarak.' The reason I do this is I want people to understand about my country. In other words, I hope this message gets out of America. I want people to understand that one of the great freedoms in America is the right for people to worship any way they see fit. If you're a Muslim, an agnostic, a Christian, a Jew, a Hindu, you're equally American.
"And the value – the most valuable thing I think about America is that – particularly if you're a religious person – you can be free to worship, and it's your choice to make. It's not the state's choice, and you shouldn't be intimidated after you've made your choice. And that's a right that I jealously guard.
"Secondly, I want American citizens to see me hosting an Iftaar dinner."
"That's a strong message for the Americans," said Nakouzi.
Last year, WND reported criticism of Bush from Wafa Sultan, a native of Syria, who said the president was empowering terrorist leaders whose ultimate aim is for Islamic law to govern the world by proclaiming Islam a "religion of peace."
"I believe he undermines our credibility by saying that," said Sultan. "We came from Islam, and we know what kind of religion Islam is."
WEEK OF OCTOBER 1 THROUGH OCTOBER 7
'Amero Coming Within The Decade'
(Strategist expects currency changes as Canadian dollar matches greenback)
Oct. 5….(WND) Bankintroductions.com, a Canadian company that specializes in global banking strategies and currency consulting, is advising clients that the amero may be the currency of North America within the next 10 years. "The amero would compete against other regional currency blocks," Bankintroductions says. "At present, with the Canadian dollar approaching par, more talk for an amero currency unit will become popular in Canada." The company says that with the successful implementation of NAFTA, "the one dragging component for the amero will be Mexico, but in time this will change." "Implementation of the amero currency may actually give Mexico an economic boost, thus helping to alleviate Mexican immigration pressures into the United States for those Mexicans seeking financial gain," BankIntroductions.com advises. "The amero one day may well be circulating throughout North America." Matt Bell, president of BankIntroductions.com, told WND in an e-mail to "feel free to quote our currency research on Canada. Our general opinion on the amero stands as stated." As WND reported, coin designer Daniel Carr has issued for sale a series of private-issue fantasy pattern amero coins that have drawn attention on the Internet. WND also reported the African Union is moving down the path of regional economic integration, with the African Central Bank planning to create the "Gold Mandela" as a single African continental currency by 2010. The Council on Foreign Relations also has supported regional and global currencies designed to replace nationally issued currencies. In an article in the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs, entitled "The End of National Currency," CFR economist Benn Steil asserted the dollar is a temporary currency. Steil concluded "countries should abandon monetary nationalism," moving to adopt regional currencies, on the road to a global "one world currency." WND previously reported Steve Previs, a vice president at Jeffries International Ltd. in London, said the amero "is the proposed new currency for the North American Community which is being developed right now between Canada, the US, and Mexico." WND also has reported a continued slide in the value of the dollar on world currency markets could set up conditions in which the adoption of the amero as a North American currency gains momentum.
Ahmadinejad: World Needs Referendum on Transfer of Israel to Europe
(Iranian leader says during Jerusalem Day rally in Tehran, 'Let a referendum be held in Palestine on the transfer of Zionists to Europe, Canada or Alaska.' Adds: Israel committed crimes under pretext of the Holocaust)
Oct. 5….(HA ARETZ) Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemned "the atrocities of the Zionist regime against the oppressed Palestinian people," the IRNA news agency reported Friday. According to the regime's mouthpiece, the president suggested holding a referendum on the transfer of Israel's Jews to Europe, Canada or Alaska. "Let a referendum be held in Palestine. It is our clear proposal to European countries," Ahmadinejad said during the International Quds (Jerusalem) Day rallies in Tehran. "Let all Palestinians including Muslims, Christians and the Jews attend the referendum," he added. IRNA said Ahmadinejad repeated an earlier suggestion to Europe on the "settlement of Zionists in Europe or in big lands such as Canada and Alaska so they would be able to own their own land". Ahmadinejad further stated that "the creation of the Zionist regime, the continuation of its existence and unlimited support for the regime (by the US) are an insult to human dignity." "Defense for the ominous interests of the Zionist regime is a must for certain powers. Western governments who are pioneers of secularism pursue defense for the Zionist regime as the holiest task in the world," the president was quoted as saying.
"Nations should be allowed to conduct research on crimes of the Zionist regime and decode the black box for its atrocities," he added. ""The Palestinian youth and nation have been deprived of all human rights for more than 60 years. Today, Quds is not an issue only related to Palestine and the Middle East but a case of world humanity." The president continued to say that Western nations have turned the Holocaust into a "holy issue and do not let anybody raise any question about it. "(These events took place in the World War II. Later, they (Israel) committed a historical genocide in Palestine. They ratified unlimited and holy rights for themselves and introduced all nations as criminals," he said. "They allowed themselves to commit whatever crimes under pretext of the Holocaust. They even built secret prisons in Europe... and attacked and imposed economic sanctions against a nation that did not officially recognize the Zionist regime." Ahmadinejad concluded by saying that "the world should know that the Iranian nation hates massacre(s). It regards agents of the World War II and Hitler as dark and black faces."
President Bush: US Will 'Defend its Ally Israel'
Oct. 4….(Jerusalem Post) President Bush warned Wednesday of a nuclear-armed Iran but did not rule out that the United States would negotiate with its provocative leader if he gives up his suspected nuclear weapons ambitions. He denounced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his remarks about destroying Israel. "In Iran, we're dealing with a country where the leader has said that he wants to destroy Israel," Bush said. "My belief is that the United States will defend our ally Israel. This is a leader who has made very provocative statements. And, we have made it clear, however, that in spite of that, we are willing to sit down with him, so long as he suspends his program." "In other words, it's his choice, it's not mine anymore. So I believe that's the best way to achieve an objective," the president added. "If your question is, will you ever sit down with them? We've proven we would with North Korea. And the answer is yeah, just so long as we can achieve something, so long as we are able to get our objective." Bush also said it's important for the United States to stay engaged in neighboring Iraq to convince the Iranians that the US is committed to democratic reform in the region. "There would be nothing worse for world peace than if the Iranians believed that the United States did not have the will and commitment to help young democracies survive," Bush told businessmen and women where he took questions after a talk on government spending. "If we left before the job was done, there would be chaos," Bush said about withdrawing US troops prematurely from Iraq. "Chaos would embolden not only the extremists and radicals that would like to do us harm, but it would also embolden Iran. What you don't want is to have a nuclear arms race taking place in the Middle East."
Syrian Guerrilla Group 'Ready for Attacks on Israel'
(Iranian-Hezbollah-like cells plan provocations to force war between Damascus, Israel)
Oct. 4….(WND) A recently formed Syrian guerrilla group modeling itself after the Lebanese Hezbollah militia is preparing for "resistance attacks" against the Jewish state, leaders of the purported group stated during in-person interviews released in a new book. The information comes as Israel yesterday broke its nearly four-week silence and admitted officially the Jewish state's warplanes struck a "military installation" in Syria last month, prompting some officials in Damascus to call for retaliation, including guerrilla raids against Israel. The new purported Syrian terrorist group, calls itself the Committees for the Liberation of the Golan. "If an agreement is not quickly forged between Israel and Syria for an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan, we will begin attacks," a senior leader of the Committees told Aaron Klein, speaking on condition his name be withheld. The Golan Heights is strategic mountainous territory looking down on Israeli and Syrian population centers captured by Israel after Damascus twice used the territory to attack the Jewish state. The Committees leader stated Syria watched as Israel "lost" a war against the Lebanese Hezbollah militia in the summer of 2006 and noted the Syrian leadership learned that "fighting" is more effective than peace negotiations with regard to gaining territory. The leader explained that his group will initiate rocket attacks and Hezbollah-like raids against Israeli troop positions and Golan-based Jewish communities in hopes of eventually provoking a conflict or generating domestic Israeli pressure for Israel to vacate the Golan. Much of the Israeli sections of the Golan look down on Syria, and there are UN posts at international buffer areas between the Israeli and Syrian sides of the territory, but the Committees leader explained there are multiple points of vulnerability along the Syria-Israel border that can be exploited, including many Israeli sections of the Golan that are at level with the Syrian sides. The Committees for the Liberation of the Golan Heights consists of Syrian volunteers, many from the Syrian border with Turkey and from Palestinian refugee camps near Damascus, the Committees leader stated. He said Syria held registration for volunteers to join the Committees last June. Israel is taking seriously the claims of formation of the Committees. Amos Yadlin, head of the IDF's intelligence branch, stated Syria is indeed in the early stages of forming a Hezbollah-like group. Israeli security officials speaking to WND said Syrian President Bashar Assad is under heavy pressure from Iran and from senior elements within his military to retaliate for the Israeli aerial strike, especially since the Israel Defense Forces yesterday officially confirmed a raid in Syria took place. The security officials said if pressure continues to escalate or if the IDF conducts other operation inside Syria, Assad, realizing his army it not prepared for a direct confrontation with Israel, may respond by launching guerrilla attacks against the Golan Heights. Yesterday, Mohammad Habbash, a member of the Syrian parliament, told reporters Syria may resort to a guerrilla war: "If the Israeli side launches attacks, believe me we will be very harsh in our response," stated Habbash. "It will be a guerrilla war. There will be guerrilla warfare coming from Lebanon and Syria, and it will be very harsh." In an interview with the BBC Monday, Assad said Syria is still considering an "appropriate" response to the Israeli aerial attack. He said it wouldn't have to be "missile-for-missile" but could be a political reaction. Assad claimed Israeli jets hit an unmanned military facility in the Sept. 6 raid. The IDF has not announced the exact target of its missile strike except that it was a military installation, but multiple newspapers reports have alleged Israel destroyed a facility at which North Korea was transferring nuclear technology to the Syrians.
Most Americans Want Tougher Action on Iran
(About 80 percent
of Americans say Iran's contested nuclear program is for military purposes)
Iranian Minister Says US Can't Afford to Launch War Against Iran
Oct. 4….(AP) Iran's foreign minister said Wednesday the United States is not in a position to attack his country because Washington cannot afford another costly war in the region. Manouchehr Mottaki accused President Bush's administration of engaging in ''psychological war'' and had raised the option of a military strike every six months over the last two years. The ''US is not in a position to impose another war in our region against their taxpayers,'' Mottaki said. The US maintains that all options including a military attack remain on the table. But Mottaki said Iran warned the United States two years ago that it would retaliate if the US administration made a ''mad decision'' to attack. He refused to say what action Iran would take. On the final day of the UN General Assembly's ministerial session, the Iranian minister told a news conference his country is trying to avoid any confrontations and wants a peaceful solution to concerns about its nuclear activities. The Bush administration and others in the West have repeatedly voiced concern over Iran's uranium enrichment program, arguing it is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. Iran rejects the claims, defying UN sanctions while stressing its program is peaceful and agreeing to answer questions from the UN nuclear agency. ''We are not looking for a nuclear bomb. We do not need a nuclear bomb, and it is not in our military doctrine to have nuclear weapons,'' Mottaki said. In a setback for the United States, Iran won a reprieve from new UN sanctions over its nuclear program on Friday. The Bush administration and its European allies ceded to Russian and Chinese demands in the Security Council to give Tehran until November to address questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog, about its nuclear program. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana warned Tehran that the European Union wanted to see quick progress in international negotiations over its nuclear program. ''We can't wait forever, and we have to see those negotiations are moving ahead, there is a risk of more sanctions and it is a real risk, we have to get that across,'' he said in Brussels. Mottaki also defended Iran against allegations that it plays a negative role in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan. He said Iran was ''part of the solution in our region'' not part of the problem. Asked about concerns from some Arab nations that Iran would fill a void in Iraq if US forces pulled out, Mottaki said this not a ''correct understanding'' of what President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said. If foreign forces leave Iraq, which Iran believes they must do, the regional countries including Iran ''are in the position to protect stability in the region,'' he said.
Ex-US Officials: “Divide Jerusalem Now”
(Five former State Department and Pentagon officials tell Rice that Israeli and Palestinian capitals should be established in Jerusalem, Arab refugees to return only to future Palestinian state)
Oct. 4….(YNET) Five former State Department and Pentagon officials are proposing Israeli and Palestinian capitals in Jerusalem and excluding Arab refugees from returning to Israel as part of an Middle East accord. In a six-page policy statement submitted to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, they also suggested a series of peace conferences following the one she hopes to convene next month, probably in Annapolis, Maryland, near Washington. Hamas, which controls Gaza and about one-third of Palestinian-held land, has not met US terms for attending. Those conditions are recognizing Israel's right to exist and abandoning violence against the Jewish state. But the ex-officials suggested Hamas might be drawn to attend a second conference, which implicitly would accept the first one and Israel's existence. They called the role of Hamas the most difficult issue in peacemaking. Jerusalem's future and that of Palestinian refugees have snarled past US peace efforts. Former President Bill Clinton's mediation efforts between the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak envisioned sharing Jerusalem. President Clinton ruled out requiring Israel to take in most Palestinians or their families who claimed to have been forced out of Israel during creation of the Jewish state in 1947-8. It will be very difficult, "but not impossible," said Robert Pelletreau, a former US ambassador to Egypt and ex-assistant secretary of state for the region. Along with announcement of the conference, he said, "You have several things that can reinforce each other if they are framed properly." "The refugee issue is the most difficult," he said. "And Jerusalem is right up there with it." But Jerusalem will have to be split.
Ahmadinejad Says Iran's Mission is to stop Israeli Hegemony
Oct. 4….(Ha Aretz) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran had an "international mission" to stop Israeli hegemony in the Middle East, state news agency IRNA reported Thursday. "Iran has an international mission and those who believe the country should solely focus on domestic issues are wrong and efforts should also be made to reform international issues as well," IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying in a Tehran mosque on Wednesday. Referring in the same context to Israel, he said that due to such efforts the "Zionists (Israel) who always wanted a country from the Nile to the Euphrates, are now happy with establishing their illegal authority in a small part of Palestine only." If we are not present in the world scene, others would eventually make decisions for us," Ahmadinejad said. Ahmadinejad's remarks came before the annual nationwide anti-Israel demonstrations, "Al-Quds Day," on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which this year falls on October 5. Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day is an Iranian initiative to call an end to Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and for the city to be the united capital of a Palestinian state.
More Details on Sept. 6 Israeli Attack in Syria
Oct. 4….(DEBKA) Monday, Oct. 1, Syrian president Bashar Assad claimed to the BBC that Israel had struck an empty military installation under construction on Sept. 6 and that for Syria to retaliate militarily would be playing by “Israel’s rules.” DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report the Israeli military thereupon lifted its month-long ban on its publication Tuesday, without clearing any further information on the attack in the hope of closing the books on the affair. The reasoning behind this decision was that if Israel refrained from knocking down Assad’s version of the incident and let it stand as an Israeli intelligence goof shared by America, Syrian honor would be satisfied and a sequel avoided. Defense minister Ehud Barak promoted this rationale when he said after the attack that since neither Syria nor Israel wanted war, it would not occur. DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that this simplistic policy appears to work for the moment, but is unlikely to hold up for long, for four reasons:
1. Israeli and Syrian armed forces still confront each other on high alert at close quarters across the narrow Golan border.
2. In the BBC interview, Assad did not exclude a military option.
3. The impression he and his spokesmen convey of late is that they are maneuvering to gain time for the Syrian army rather than backing down.
Even if the target were just an “empty military installation,” as claimed by the Syrian president, he did not explain the biggest enigma of how Israeli warplanes reached it undetected by Syria’s air defenses. His armed forces are still groping in the dark on this question, and are necessarily constrained from entering into military action until the problem is solved. Therefore, Assad’s decision to hold his war horses at this time is not a strategic one, as Barak argued, but forced on him for lack of choice. A stance of helpless inaction is not one he can sustain for long. Stretching it out could affect the stability of his regime.
4. Syrian opposition leader Halim Khaddam, long vice president to Assad, remarked this week that the prospects of war between Israel and Syria were increasing. The Brussels-based dissident said Tehran would not let the Syrian president get away with opting out of retaliating for the Israeli attack. Iran was capable of dumping him in its own interests. For all these reasons, the Syrian-Israel war game is far from ended by the ping pong match played by Assad and Israel’s military censor.
Iran Counts on Russia to Stymie US Efforts Against its Nuclear Ambitions
Oct. 2….(FOJ) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has returned to Tehran, after his trip to New York to attend the UN General Assembly. In the past week since his address to the UN, where he pronounced his nation’s cooperation with the UN closed, Ahmadinejad has traveled to several key nations to garner support for anti-Americanism. Meanwhile, the US and the European Union agreed to delay until November a new UN resolution that would toughen sanctions against Iran, waiting to see if Tehran answers questions about its disputed nuclear program. Russia and China urged the UN members to stall any efforts to impose new sanctions on Iran. (Ezekiel 38:7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.) Russia is busy being a guard for Iran and Syria, and soon Russia will be hooked into leading its clients on an assault on the mountains of Israel.
Fatah Threatens "Catastrophe" if Summit "Fails"
Oct. 3….(IsraelNN.com) Sources are now saying that the Middle East peace conference in Washington sponsored by US President Bush might be pushed off by two weeks, until late November. The delay would give Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas extra time to agree on a joint statement. Thus the Bush administration may delay its planned international peace conference until late November, so that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will have more time to formulate a joint declaration. The Palestinians are demanding a detailed document that includes clear references to all the "core issues" of a permanent settlement - borders, Jerusalem and refugees. The Palestinians would also like to see a clear timetable for implementing such a settlement. According to sources who spoke with senior PA officials in recent days, the following are the main demands that Abbas will present at the start of negotiations:
* Settlements: Israel should declare an immediate freeze on construction in the settlements and quickly evacuate the outposts, as well as several settlements.
* Borders: The declaration should state that the future border will be based on the 1967 lines. Exchanges of territory will be limited to 2 or 3 percent of the West Bank in order to ensure territorial contiguity for the future Palestinian state and prevent the division of the West Bank into several cantons surrounded by settlements. The territory to be exchanged must be equal in quantity and quality.
According to another Palestinian proposal, instead of referring to borders, the declaration would refer to the area of the Palestinian state in the West Bank (about 6,500 square kilometers). Safe Passage: The Palestinian state should have a sovereign area that will be used for passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Jerusalem: East Jerusalem, including the Old City, should be the capital of the Palestinian state and under full Palestinian sovereignty. Refugees: Israel should recognize its responsibility for the suffering of the Palestinian refugees and compensate them. However, several of these demands are unacceptable to Israel, and the major differences in the two sides' positions guarantees that the negotiations will be difficult and complicated. Senior Fatah terrorists threaten a "new intifada" if the PA's demands are not met. If the upcoming conference fails to produce the desired results, Fatah parliament head Azzam al-Ahmed says, "the repercussions will be more dangerous than what happened after the failure of Camp David." Al-Ahmed was referring to the Oslo War that followed Yasser Arafat's refusal, in 2000, to accept then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak's offer of 95-98% of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. One thousand Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terrorists between September 2000 and September 2003. Olmert and Abbas are to meet today to continue talks for a possible pre-conference agreement. While Olmert has said he wants a general "declaration of principles" or "declaration of interests," leaving detailed negotiations for after the conference, Abbas is pushing for specific concessions now. Abbas, head of the Fatah terrorist organization, says the conference will be worthless and even dangerous if it does not produce actual land giveaways to the PA. Al-Ahmed said that the PA might even boycott the conference altogether if Israeli negotiators do not agree in advance to certain concessions. Abbas and the PA insist on Israel's withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders and the destruction of the Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria. Abbas has agreed, however, to accept land in other areas of Israel in exchange for three settlement blocs that might remain under Israeli sovereignty. The PA also continues to insist on the "right of return" for millions of Arabs who claim descent from those who fled Israel during the War of Independence in 1948-9.
Over 3/4 of the United States Senate has signed a letter to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pointing out the importance of Arab states' cooperation in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Arab countries must "stop support for terrorist groups and cease all anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement" and act for regional peace, the letter said. The senators also called on Arab states to recognize Israel, "and not use such recognition as a bargaining chip for future concessions." They called on Arab countries and the PA to reject terrorism and to isolate Hamas. If Arab countries do not take these steps, they warned, "peace in the region will remain elusive."
What Next for Israel? An Apology to Enemies for Existing?
(West plans to pressure Jerusalem to express remorse about existing)
Oct. 3….(WND) Pressured for nearly two decades to swap land for peace that never came, Israel will next be asked to apologize to its Arab and Muslim enemies for coming into existence in the first place. That's what experts in conflict resolution have determined is the most expedient path for the Jewish state to take in turning around enemies who don't accept Israel's legitimacy as a Mideast state, "According to my sources, a new form of pressure will be placed on Israel, pressure to apologize for what Arabs call 'al-Nabka,' the catastrophe of the 1948 war that ended with the displacement of hundreds of thousands of them as refugees," writes Farah in his G2 Bulletin report. Farah writes that the basis of the argument for an Israeli apology is found in the Aug. 24 issue of Science magazine. In an article written by two researchers from John Jay College's Center on Terrorism and a professor of "human understanding" at the University of Michigan, a new plan for conflict resolution in the Middle East is unveiled. The researchers, who adamantly describe their work as "science," say they went to the Middle East in February to conduct interviews in Syria, the Palestinian Authority and Israel and gauge emotional responses over suggestions for resolution of the conflict. "We found that the use of material incentives to promote the peaceful resolution of political and cultural conflicts may backfire when adversaries treat contested issues as sacred values," they write in Science. "Symbolic concessions of no apparent material benefit may be key in helping to solve seemingly intractable conflicts." As evidence, they quote Ghazi Hamad, a Hamas leader, as saying: "In principle, we have no problem with a Palestinian state encompassing all of our lands within the 1967 borders. But let Israel apologize for our tragedy in 1948, and then we can talk about negotiating over our right of return to historic Palestine." "In rational-choice models of decision-making, something as intangible as an apology should not stand in the way of peace.
Russia Sends Technicians to Syria to Upgrade its Defenses
Oct. 2….(Jerusalem Post) Russia has sent technicians to upgrade Syria's air defense system, The Times reported Tuesday morning. Reportedly, Moscow sent the team after Israel managed to foil Syria's air defenses using stealth technology to remain invisible during an alleged air strike on September 6. Foreign reports that surfaced since the incident indicated that Israeli jets assisted by a unit of special operations ground troops bombed and totally destroyed a strategic site in eastern Syria built with North Korean help. According to the Times' report, the Israeli Air Force used a sophisticated electronic warfare system operated by F-15I jets and a fleet of specialist electronic warfare aircraft over the Mediterranean during the attack on a suspected nuclear facility near Dayr az-Zawr. They transmitted signals that jammed the Russian-made radar and the Syrian army's communications. Syria has been veering from condemnation to denial since the alleged attack, and in the past few days has stuck to strong denial of any nuclear activity and claimed that the IAF attack was aimed at a civilian agricultural research center. The top-secret system used by Israel, the paper claimed, was being used for the first time. It is believed to have been designed in readiness for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear sites.
IDF Confirms Syria Attack
(Ambiguity surrounding reported IAF attack in Syria ends as Israel confirms air raid of undisclosed Syrian targets)
Oct. 2….(YNET) After weeks of ambiguity, the IDF confirmed Tuesday that the Israeli Air Force had attacked targets in Syria in September. The IDF, however, would not reveal details of where the raid took place, or its aims. According to several reports in the foreign media, the IAF attack targeted a military base housing North Korean made nuclear equipment. On September 6, the Syrian News Agency reported that an IAF fighter jet breached Syrian airspace, flying north-east and breaking the sound barrier. Israel refused to comment on the Syrian report and official government sources in Syria denied the news agency's report. Opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) was the first Israeli government official to acknowledge an air strike in Syria, after admitting he was privy to the decision in a television interview. The ambiguity was consistent until Monday, when Syrian President Bashar Assad spoke of the attack in a BBC interview, saying Syria reserved the right to retaliate. "Using the military is always an option," said Assad, adding that the Israeli attack targeted an abandoned military building in north-east Syria.
Are Iran, Russia, China Behind Dollar's Free-Fall?
(Some see 'Currency Cold War' meant to bring US to its knees)
Oct. 2….(WND) The hottest selling book in China right now is called "Currency Wars," which makes the case that the U.S. Federal Reserve is a puppet of the Rothschilds banking dynasty and it has persuaded some top officials Beijing should resist America's demands to appreciate its own undervalued currency, the yuan. This might not be news of concern to most Americans if the US dollar were not in precipitous free-fall, having reached record laws against the euro yesterday. What would it mean if China ever threw its economic weight around by dumping dollars in a major way? Suffice it to say it is referred to in some quarters as China's financial "nuclear option," because it would be the economic equivalent of detonating a thermonuclear weapon in the world's financial markets. But the American dollar's fate is hardly in the hands of the Chinese alone. Other foreign parties suspected of participating in a new "Currency Cold War" are Iran, Russia and Venezuela. Diane Francis, a financial reporter for the National Post in Canada, says it plainly and boldly: "There is a Currency Cold War being waged by Russia, Iran and various allies such as Venezuela." The grand strategy being engineered by Vladimir Putin, she writes, is to force the use of euros as the international monetary standard as a transition to the Russian ruble. "This is simply a monetary version of the old Cold War, minus the missiles," she writes. Experts don't see any short-term reprieve for the falling value of the dollar. Kathy Lien, chief currency strategist with DailyFX.com in the US, told Bloomberg she expects the American dollar to slide even further, forcing more lending rates cuts in the US to stave off recession. "It seems like every single passing day we have a new record low in the dollar, and a new record high in the euro, and it's driven by the fact that US data is continuing to deteriorate," she said. If other nations do not follow the US in cutting rates, the slide in the value of the dollar would most likely continue. If the dollar trend continues spiraling downward, the risk is that nations like China, or Japan or Saudi Arabia, which have been buying US Treasury bonds and thereby funding America's deficit, would stop that practice. That would be the nuclear option. China, with $1.3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves as a result of the massive and growing 260 billion dollar trade deficit has taken huge losses with the falling dollar, given that some 80 percent of China's $1.3 trillion in foreign reserves is held in US dollar assets, largely in US treasury securities. Some countries meanwhile, are standing on the sidelines cheering the currency wars, seeing them as a way of reducing the power and influence of the "imperialistic" US. Rohini Hensman, who describes himself as "independent scholar, writer and activist based in India and Sri Lanka," says it's about time the US got its comeuppance. "As the bombs started falling on Iraq in 2003, I wrote and circulated an appeal entitled 'Boycott the Dollar to Stop the War!,' arguing that although the military strength of the US was enormous, its economy was in a mess; with a massive gross national debt, the only reason it could finance its foreign wars and occupations was because of the inflow of over a billion dollars a day from countries accumulating foreign exchange reserves in dollars because it was the world's sole reserve currency. The denomination of the oil trade in dollars made it additionally desirable. With the advent of the euro, however, there was the possibility of an alternative world currency; therefore individuals, institutions and countries opposed to the war on Iraq should refuse to accumulate dollars or use them outside the US, because these were activities that helped to finance US-Israeli aggression against Palestinians, Iraqis and Afghanis. Even former Fed Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan sparked controversy by suggesting in his recently published book, "The Age of Turbulence," that President Bush went to war in Iraq over oil, and that the euro is rivaling the dollar as the international foreign exchange reserve currency of choice.
Secretary Rice Says Summit Talks 'Gaining Momentum'
Oct. 1….(Jerusalem Post) The dialogue between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has gained momentum, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in an interview to CBS. Rice said that during the last round of trilateral talks, in February, Olmert and Abbas had "barely agreed to speak to each other, let alone speak about anything of importance." The US Secretary of State also said that support in the Arab world for Abbas was critical and pointed out that Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair's mission had also "helped people focus on the institutions of statehood, the building of capacity to govern." Turning to the situation in the Gaza Strip, Rice said that Gaza was not separate from the Palestinian Authority. There aren't two Palestinian Authorities, Rice said. Rather, she asserted, there was the West Bank and Gaza, and there was going to be a Palestinian state under the leadership of Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad. Meanwhile, Abbas told the Washington Post, in an interview published Sunday, that an offer similar to the 92 percent of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for a Palestinian state extended at Camp David in 2000 would not be enough. He insisted on the pre-1967 borders, speaking ahead of Tuesday's scheduled meeting with Olmert in his Jerusalem succa to discuss a memorandum of understanding on principles for a peace deal. We will be flexible," said Abbas. "But before 1947, we had 95% of Palestine. In 1937, the partition plan gave the Israelis only part of Palestine. And they were very happy at that time. David Ben-Gurion was very happy with it. It didn't work. After that came the 1947 partition plan, we rejected this, so we lost. Now, we accept the pre-'67 borders." He added that like Arafat, he too would have rejected the offer Bill Clinton made at Camp David in 2000. "Ninety-two percent is unacceptable to us," Abbas said. The two leaders are meeting in advance of November's Middle East conference that is likely to take place in Annapolis, Maryland. Representatives of Israel, the US and the Palestinians are expected to be joined there by officials from moderate Arab states. Speaking with the Washington Post, Abbas said Saudi Arabia would be at the conference. A working group of Israelis and Palestinians is also expected to begin hammering out a joint understanding between the two sides to be issued at the conference. Addressing the UN General Assembly earlier Friday, Abbas vowed to pursue peace with Israel. Abbas pledged that the "olive branch of peace that never withers or dies, will not fall from my hands," an apparent reference to Yasser Arafat's 1974 address to the same forum. Then, Arafat said he carried both an olive branch and "the freedom fighter's gun," and implored the world not to let that branch fall from his hands. "Today, there is not the slightest obstacle to promoting the holding of the US-sponsored peace meeting, in particular because our brother Arab countries have demonstrated through the Arab Peace Initiative their true readiness to bring about a just, lasting and comprehensive peace," Abbas said. Abbas reiterated his government's position that the key to solving the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians was directly addressing the "final status" issues, including Palestinian statehood, the status of Jerusalem and the right of return for refugees. Also Friday, Abbas told AFP he thought a final agreement could be hammered out within six months of the November talks. "After the conference, we will start negotiating the details of these issues in order to have a peace treaty," said Abbas. Nevertheless, Arab nations have been reluctant to commit to attending, fearing that a failure to address the final status issues will result in a gathering high on show, but low on substance. An agenda has yet to be set and the invitations have not been sent. Syrian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Bushra Kanafani said Damascus wanted answers to a number of questions, including details on the agenda of the meeting, and whether the Syria-Israel dispute over the Golan Heights would be discussed. Arab officials offered a measure of guarded support Friday in the General Assembly, with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit saying the proposed conference, if well prepared, could provide "an important opportunity to achieve long-awaited progress." His Jordanian counterpart, Abdul-Ilah al-Khatib, said it "may be the last chance to achieve progress" and, as a result, the US and others must ensure it tackles the final status issues. Earlier, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa told reporters his discussions over the past few days with Rice and others were "reassuring" and that there was a strong desire to have all parties participate in the meeting. "We, on the Arab side, have shown through our initiative that we are ready for peace with Israel," he said. "We are ready to turn the page." But Moussa also stressed that the Arabs were not prepared to negotiate continuously if the commitment to the process was not mutual. At the very least, he said, Israel should halt the expansion of settlements.
Bolton, Podhoretz Say: Bomb Iranian Nuclear Plants
Oct. 1….(IsraelNN.com) Former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told Conservative Party delegates in Britain Sunday that efforts by the UN to negotiate with Iran had failed and that he saw no alternative to a pre-emptive strike on suspected nuclear facilities in the country. Influential conservative thinker Norman Podhoretz told a British paper that he has advised President George W. Bush to do just that. "This is not an attractive option, but after four-plus frustrating years watching European diplomacy fail time and time again and watching our options more and more constrained, I do not know what the alternative is," Bolton told delegates at the Conservative Party's annual conference in the northern British holiday town of Blackpool. "Because life is about choices," he said, "I think we have to consider the use of military force. I think we have to look at a limited strike against their nuclear facilities." Bolton said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was "pushing out" and "is not receiving adequate push-back" from the West. He added that any strike should be followed by an attempt to remove "the source of the problem," President Ahmadinejad. "If we were to strike Iran it should be accompanied by an effort at regime change as well, because I think that really sends the signal that we are not attacking the people, we are attacking the nuclear weapons program," he said. "The US once had the capability to engineer the clandestine overthrow of governments. I wish we could get it back," he said, and received applause and cheers. Bolton said that the fact that only partial intelligence about Iran's nuclear activity existed is not an excuse for inaction. "Intelligence can be wrong in more than one direction," he explained. Responding after nuclear devices are used is unacceptable. "Bolton also said the UN's involvement with Iran was "fundamentally irrelevant."
Podhoretz: I told Bush 'Strike Iran'
Norman Podhoretz, an intellectual leader of the neoconservative movement in the US who has joined Republican Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign as a senior foreign policy advisor, told London's Sunday Times he urged US President George W. Bush to bomb Iran during an unpublicized meeting with him late last spring at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York. "I urged Bush to take action against the Iranian nuclear facilities and explained why I thought there was no alternative,” said Podhoretz. “I laid out the worst-case scenario, bombing Iran, versus the worst-case consequences of allowing the Iranians to get the bomb.” He also told Bush: “You have the awesome responsibility to prevent another Holocaust. You’re the only one with the guts to do it.” The president looked very solemn, Podhoretz said. For the most part Bush simply listened and gave not the slightest indication of whether he agreed with me, but he listened very intently,” Podhoretz said. Podhoretz is convinced, however, that “George Bush will not leave office with Iran having acquired a nuclear weapon or having passed the point of no return,” a reference to the Iranians’ acquisition of sufficient technical capability to produce a nuclear weapon. “The president has said several times that he will be in the historical dock if he allows Iran to get the bomb. He believes that if we wait for threats to fully materialize, we’ll have waited too long, something I agree with 100%,” Podhoretz said.
Assad Claims IAF Warplanes Struck 'Unused Military Building'
Oct. 1….(Israel Insider) Syrian President Bashar Assad told the British Broadcasting Corp. on Monday that IAF warplanes attacked an "unused military building" in his country last month and said Damascus reserves the right to retaliate. But Assad said his country was not about to attack Israel in response, suggesting he did not want to hurt chances at peace talks with the Jewish state. The comments were the first by the Syrian leader about an alleged September 6 IAF air incursion over Syria that raised speculation that warplanes had hit weapons headed for Hizbullah or even a nascent nuclear installation - reports Damascus has repeatedly denied. "Retaliate doesn't mean missile for missile and bomb for bomb," Assad told the BBC in an interview in Damascus. "We have our means to retaliate, maybe politically, maybe in other ways. But we have the right to retaliate by different means." "But if we wanted to retaliate militarily, this means we're going to work according to the Israeli agenda, something we don't look for. That doesn't mean we squander any opportunity for peace in the near future," he added in the interview, which was monitored in neighboring Lebanon. But Assad said Syria was not about to attack Israel. Asked whether Syria was considering striking at Israel, he said, "It's possible, but we don't say this is the option that we're going to adopt now. We say that we have very different means." Previously, Syrian officials had said only that the IAF warplanes entered the country's airspace, came under fire from anti-aircraft defenses, and dropped munitions and fuel tanks over northeastern Syria to lighten their loads while they fled. The BBC quoted Assad in the interview as saying the attack was on an "unused military building." The BBC did not air that part of the interview. Asked in the BBC interview whether Syria was rearming and strengthening its missile capabilities, Assad said: "This is very normal and self-evident that we're going to prepare ourselves for that." "That's why you have the army, to defend your territory. We don't build the army to make any aggression, but to defend our country, and this is normal, especially after the war on Lebanon last year, when we see the Israelis wreaked havoc on Lebanese cities in Beirut," he added. Assad also said Syria needed to know details of an international peace conference on the Middle East planned in the United States later this year before it decided whether to participate. "This conference or any conference is going to be an opportunity but it should be purposeful. It should be substantive," he said. "I don't see where is the purpose and what is the substance of this conference. What are they going to talk about?" "It needs more clarifications for Syria to take a decision," he said. According to Israel Radio, Assad said the conference must address Syrian interests, particularly the return of the Golan Heights.